Living in Dangerous Times
The Prophet Jeremiah lived in a dangerous time. The nation was on the brink, being threatened by the world super-power, Babylon. He was upset by the wealthy and hypocritical leaders who seemed to be flourishing, when the nation was suffering and about to be sent into exile. God’s response to Jeremiah’s impatience over the condition of the nation was startling. The situation was to get worse, not better, and there were dangerous times ahead. And yet Jeremiah was encouraged to be hopeful. God would uproot the people from their land, but he would also bring them back. When we consider our world these warnings from Jeremiah’s words still apply.
False Messiah’s and False Hopes
Daniel, the prophet, also wrote of future times of national danger. He prophesied of the time of the Maccabees, when false messiah’s, religious leaders, would turn people away from God. And even those who were faithful to God and resisted the oppressors would be tested. They would be attacked and undermined by foreign enemies and by hypocrites within their own community. Jesus’ explained that the conditions at the end of the age would also be like those described in Daniel’s prophecy. It would be a time of hypocritical leadership. Leaders would want to appear ‘good,’ but would be ‘play actors’ whose actions contradicted their words.
Reflective Followers of Jesus
In such times as these, Jesus gave some valuable advice to his followers. He encouraged his disciples to be reflective. They were to examine themselves and root out hypocrisy. It was good to understand the fakery, synthetic emotion, or sly manipulation of those in leadership. But it was not enough! Jesus’ disciples were to consider their own weaknesses, and acknowledge their need for forgiveness. And, in realizing this need they were to have compassion on others. Jesus wanted his ‘leaders’ to be sincere and without hypocrisy, and able to judge righteously based on God’s standard.
Hypocrisy in Leadership
Recent political developments have leaders speaking out of both sides of their mouths … hypocritically. Amazingly, they will say that Jesus is their personal hero! Yet, they will look to the modern ‘climate change messiah’s’ to solve the worlds problems … both real and imagined. And it is true, the world does need saving. But secular messiah’s have neither the insight, nor the power to do so.
Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, our modern hypocritical leaders put their trust in human reason and tradition. They nullify God’s commands and the authority of his words with their own laws.
God’s Leaders have Power
But God’s leaders have real power, God’s spirit and his Word to guide them. They do not need to be ‘play actors’ wearing a mask of human superiority. God’s servants will live transparent lives of faithful service to God. They will be imitators of Christ and an example of godly conduct to others. In the midst of a corrupt and hypocritical society they will shine as beacons of hope. They will not be tricked by the false messiahs, or fearful of the dangerous world situation. Rather, their hope in God’s promises and Christ’s coming will give them strength to overcome all obstacles.
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