Day 2 - January 3, 2023
For the shepherds are stupid
and do not inquire of the LORD;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered. – Jeremiah 10:21
Jeremiah 10:21 is a jarring verse that you might not expect to find in the Bible, “the shepherds [i.e. leaders] are stupid!” For this reason it gets our attention and lets us know how important it is to God that His leaders inquire of Him.
The very first priority of a Christian leader should be to inquire of the Lord. Successful, godly leadership requires a wide-ranging tool-set of traits and skills, but none of them can substitute for the primary place of inquiring of God. When this first-order duty is left undone, there are devastating consequences for the leaders and for those whom they lead.
What does it mean to inquire of God? Inquiring of God is seeking God’s will concerning a situation. For godly leaders like David, inquiring of God meant that he would consult God before making significant decisions like going to war (1 Samuel 23:2). The Lord Jesus always inquired of the Father for decision-making, like choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-13), and for all of His life’s work. He only said and did what the Father directed (John 5:19).
Every Christian leader should heed this priority of inquiring of God when making important decisions, whether you’re a parent, a pastor, a Bible study leader, and so on. Leadership decisions don’t just affect you but many other people as well. Your decisions, actions, and words can bring great blessing or terrible devastation, as was the case for the leaders in Jeremiah’s day. The leaders “have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered.”
I am inspired by a Christian friend of mine who is a lawyer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was facing a difficult decision as to whether he should move his family from one place to another. How did he decide? He gathered his wife and children for a day of prayer and fasting on a Saturday to seek the Lord’s will.
I have received excellent counsel from other godly leaders to take several days to inquire of God especially before making important decisions. Sometimes taking 10 days, 30 days or 40 days to fast and pray and seek the Lord’s face. Difficult decisions are never easy to make, but these times of waiting on God have afforded me great peace and direction, and I believe they have been God’s means of grace for me, my family, and others I’ve led.
Inquiring of God is a particular aspect of both prayer and Bible study, and many Christian who pray and study the Bible do not also inquire of God. When we pray, we should be asking the Lord for specific directions. “Lord, what should I do about this situation? Why is this happening? What are You trying to tell me? What do I need to know to do Your will?” As you read the Bible, be searching for God’s will for your life, both for ordinary and extraordinary decisions.
American Christian leaders ought to take much time and effort to inquire of God in prayer and Scripture because the spiritual walls of the church are broken down in our land. We have seen a clear decline of Christianity in our nation for decades. This decline is manifest in a weakened church, quantitatively and qualitatively, and a degraded society, for we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Christian leaders should be asking God, “What is going wrong? Where have we gone astray? What do we need to do to change and see Your kingdom expand as You promised?”
It only makes sense that a Christian leader would always inquire of God, because he or she is under God’s authority. We are undershepherds, serving at the pleasure of the Chief Shepherd. Our job is to understand the Lord’s plans and purposes and then to do them.
Take time right now and begin to ask God about your own decisions and purposes. Make a plan to spend more time later to continue bringing these matters to God. These 21 days of fasting present an excellent opportunity to inquire of the Lord.
Father, forgive me for the times when I have not taken care to inquire of You but have forged ahead with my own plans and purposes. I repent for my arrogance, self-sufficient mindset, and lack of concern for Your will. Redeem those mistakes and help me always serve under Your every will and command. Now, Lord, I bring these matters to You, _____________. Speak to Your servant. I only want to do Your will. In Jesus’ name, I ask, amen.
Chuck Hetzler, PhD
Vice President of Biblical Theology, Christian Union
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