“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture.” (Jeremiah 23:1)
Those words were spoken by the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Jerusalem over 2,600 years ago; but they also speak loudly to us, the citizens of these United States, as our nation begins its preparation for another presidential election. Jeremiah’s words prompt us to ask the question: How well have our leaders served this great nation of ours, and what should we demand of our future leaders?
Have our leaders demonstrated sound fiscal policies? Hardly! Our national debt currently stands at over 18 trillion dollars. Our nation’s debt remained relatively stable, at less than a trillion dollars, for over 40 years. Then in 1980 it started to grow, and that debt has been increasing steadily ever since. It has increased by an average of $2.07 billion per day, every day since September, 2012!
Have our leaders enacted laws to protect, defend and respect all human life? Again our answer would have to be no! Our nation has had 42 years of legalized abortions, and to date there have been nearly 58 million abortions in this country.
Our currency contains the phrase, “In God We Trust”. Have our leaders demonstrated a sincere confidence and trust in Almighty God. Apparently not! Not only has their performance demonstrated a total absence of trust and reverence for God, it appears that our leaders have even turned their back on God, by passing legislation that has taken God out of our schools, have legalized abortion and now have even redefined marriage. I think Dr. Ben Carson said it best in an interview with CNS news. Dr. Carson, said, “I think the biggest issue is that we have abandoned God. We need to bring spirituality back to this country. It was our Judeo-Christian values that allowed this to be an exceptional country. It allowed us to move forward so incredibly quickly. And as we abandon God, you can see we’re spiraling downward just as quickly.” (Dr. Carson, neurosurgeon and best-selling author, CNS News, April 22, 2015)
As we approach the upcoming political season, once again we will have an opportunity to hear all the candidates criticize the policies, decisions and leadership styles of their opponents while praising their own accomplishments.
We must remember that the qualities of good leadership are timeless. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that a true leader is responsible for all those who are in his or her care. Our leaders or shepherds, and by analogy our elected officials, are expected to act on behalf of the well-being of those whom they represent. They are responsible for the peace, protection and defense of their flock.
Our nation is in desperate need of sound political, economic and spiritual leadership. And that leadership begins with each and every one of us, individually. “Whether or not our laws and policies are God-honoring depends largely on who shows up to vote. Who better to help a nation choose the right leaders and enact the right laws and policies than those who accept God’s revealed moral truth?” (Barrett Duke, Nov 8, 2013, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission)
Jesus commanded His followers to be salt of the earth and the light of the world. As Christians we have a responsibility to actively address the issues of our society. That means supporting and promoting individuals to represent us who will work for the good of those they represent, who will work to protect the good of the traditional family, who have demonstrated a respect for all human life, and whose past performance demonstrates sound moral principles.
Jeremiah’s statements were directed at the leaders of his day; rebuking them for their poor performance and charging them with the downfall that was inevitable for the people they were meant to lead and protect. I am quite sure that Jeremiah’s rebuke cannot be taken literally by each and every one of us individually, but his statement does speak to the fiscal irresponsibility, moral decay and social injustice issues of our day and the leadership that has failed us in that regard. And since that leadership was chosen by us, we are ultimately responsible.