What is your normal course of action when you receive bad news? (164-2)
Often the most important personal and organizational changes are made when a leader is willing to receive and process bad news. Read Jeremiah 36:1-32.
Today’s study is best understood when put in the context of the history of the last 50 years of Judah’s existence. These are the years before Jerusalem was destroyed and Babylon deported and exiled the survivors.
The nation of Judah was positioned on the main costal trade route between Egypt/Africa and the nations to the North and East i.e. Assyria, Arabia, Media, Persia, and Babylon. Their strategic location put them in harm’s way between some of the known world’s superpowers. King Josiah, a God-honoring king that had reigned for 31 years, lost his life in a battle with Egypt trying to keep the trade route through Judah neutral and honor an agreement with Assyria.
After Josiah’s death Judah had four kings. Jehoahaz, son of Josiah became king but only for three months and was removed from the throne and taken to Egypt by the Egyptian Pharaoh as punishment for Josiah’s actions against him. Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim, Josiah’s second son king. The Pharaoh changed his name to Jehoiakim and to further disgrace him, imposed heavy taxes on Judah. (Today’s study will focus on Jehoiakim’s actions.)
Because of the heavy taxes Jehoiakim rebelled against Egypt and allied Judah with Babylon. After about three years of the alliance, he rebelled against Babylon and again allied himself with Egypt. Babylon responded by sending an army.
In Jeremiah 36, God delivers a message against the leadership of King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim had placed Jeremiah under house arrest for prophesying that Babylon would capture Jerusalem so Jeremiah dictated words from God to a servant who wrote them down and took the scroll to be read in Jehoiakim’s presence. Jehoiakim didn’t like what he heard, so he burned the scroll after each section was read. He refused to learn the truth and change his ways. That act of arrogance and foolishness led to the destruction of his nation. Jehoiakim chose to shield himself from information that he considered bad news yet that information was vital to his success as a leader and the survival of his nation.
What is your normal course of action when you receive bad news? What action or attitude must change to keep from avoiding or ignoring bad news? Wise leaders learn from all truths including bad news.
Tags: Act of arrogance, Babylon exiled Jerusalem's survivors, Coastal trade route, God-honoring king, Josiah's death, King Jehoiakim, Living between world superpowers, Organizational change, Processing bad news, What to do when you receive bad news
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