How Could Anyone Blow A 10-Day Test Of Leadership So Badly?


It was only a 10 day wait. How could they blow it so badly?

Earlier this week I wrote about the Test of Leadership using the backdrop of Johanan and his officers from the book of Jeremiah. How we as leaders should never resort to our old way of doing things. When we do resort to doing things the old way – it always leads to ruin.

I’d like you to notice a couple of additional insights from the text. Look closely:

“Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”

“I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.”

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us.  Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.”

Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.” (Read Jeremiah 42)

All they had to do was wait 10 days for a response – and then –  Jeremiah spills everything they are to do/not to do. He also included God’s specific promises for them to prosper. All they have to do is A) Trust and B) Obey, that’s it.

If you read in Jeremiah 43 Jeremiah sums it all up and the people respond:

When Jeremiah had finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them—  Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’ But Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Babylonians, so they may kill us or carry us into exile to Babylon.”

Did you catch that? In one exchange they promise Jeremiah that regardless how God responds – good or bad – they’ll accept His answer. Then 10 days goes by and BAMMO they flip-out accusing Jeremiah of being a liar, setting them up for destruction and they GO BACK on their promise. Ouch.

And as we say, “The rest is history”. Read further in Jeremiah to see what happens to Johanan and all the people. Were they right in their disobedience? Did they prosper despite the warning?

Just go look.

So here are a few questions for you as a leader this Friday:

  1. When’s the last time you felt you needed counsel on what to do next?
  2. Have you received wise counsel that shares if you go this way it will lead to ruin, but if you stay put, you will prosper?
  3. Did you ignore the counsel, even have contempt for those delivering it?
  4. What was the cost to you as a leader?
  5. What was the cost to those around you?
  6. What do you intend to do differently in the future?
  7. Finally, in the comments section, leave a pearl of wisdom for others.


As I’ve written, a true test of leadership is the ability to trust. There is great testing in waiting. Taking 10-days to wait (as in this example) for an answer tested Johanan and his officers ability to trust.

How about you?

Think about it.

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