Last week, we saw that the prosperity of Jerusalem - the place where God's people lived and worshiped - depended upon their keeping of the Sabbath. But the same is not true of the king's security, which depended upon quite a bit more.
The king's security - his ability to rule and to reign, to lead his people (to lead His people) - depended upon his administration of justice and righteousness, his rescue of victims of oppression, his refusal to exploit or brutalize aliens and orphans and widows, and his protection of innocent blood (Jeremiah 22). Which sounds maybe like a lot, but also like exactly the kinds of things you would expect from your leader.
So..what if you are supposed to be a leader?
Most of us think more about just living our lives. We think about the places we frequent on a day-to-day basis, the things we do, the thoughts we think. We come to believe that just living quiet, "good" lives is enough and maybe, yes, even keeping the Sabbath, since the prosperity of the place where we live depends upon it. And we think that this other stuff, this higher threshold, is for others. It's for the leaders in our world. It's for the presidents and the politicians and the CEOs.
But what if it's not? What if it's also for us?
It's about living in two directions, and we'll look at this a bit more tomorrow because this hits on an issue that is of extreme importance. We are God's people in the world, and it is because of the way that we live as God's people - that we live in Jerusalem - that He has called us also to be His kings, to be leaders in the world. We're the ones who are supposed to help others get to Jesus. We're the ones who are supposed to show them the way.
And we think that maybe showing them the way means showing them the good, quiet, faithful life that we live. It means showing them how to read their bibles and pray and go to church, how to call themselves a Christian, how to keep the Sabbath. But that's not the way we lead.
We lead in bolder movements, in broader motions. We lead by administering justice and righteousness, by fighting for what is right. We lead by rescuing victims of oppression. We lead by refusing to exploit others, especially widows, orphans, and aliens. We lead by protecting innocent blood.
The world's not interested in Jesus because He offers a way to have a devotional every morning or something to do on Sundays. The world's not interested in Jesus because He has some cool songs or because He listens to pray.
The world is interested in Jesus because He loves.
So if we want to lead others to Jesus, we do that by loving them. And it starts with the burden He put on the kings of old, those chosen and appointed to lead their people just as we lead the ones He has given to us.
It's important to recognize this difference and to start living it well. This world will never come to know Jesus because they see us pray or worship or study; they won't get it from our bumper stickers. The only way this world will ever come to know Him is if we lead them to Him by love. So let's do that. Let's stop saying that our own prosperity is enough, and let's lead others somewhere rich.