The most basic principle of leadership is to keep safe and take care of the people for whom you are responsible. And they had failed!! They were to protect, take care of, feed and render first aid, but all they did was secure their wellbeing. And the result would be conquest and enslavement for 70 years. The leaders betrayed the trust of their people and of the one who allowed them to be leaders.

Then their failure was heralded to everyone along with their punishment.

The story is in the thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel. The prophet's utterance of God's judgment clearly blames the shepherds (leaders) of Israel for its eventual fall to the Babylonians and the forced conquest of the Jewish people. This is what God told Ezekiel to say:

Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves, should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with wool: you slaughter the fattlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken nor brought back what was driven away, or sought what was lost: but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.... Thus, says the Lord God: Behold I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them (Ezekiel 34:2-4;Ezekiel 34:10).

You are responsible for your people
These dynamics of leadership, while ancient, are present today. As a leader, whether political, military, or religious, you are responsible for your people. If you do not take care of, feed, heal and attend to their welfare, they will become enslaved to others and you will be held accountable for their capture and conquest. And God will remember your failure!!

There are plenty of religious and secular examples of failed leadership, but there are also examples for good effective leadership with the primary example being Jesus.

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