Gedaliah was appointed governor by Nebuchadnezzar to watch over the remnant of Jews that remained in the land after the destruction of Jerusalem and the other walled cities. To him were “committed men, and women, and children, and of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon” (Je. 40:7). When the Jews who had fled to neighboring lands heard of Gedaliah, they returned to Judah to be under his protection (Je. 40:12).
But he turned out to be a “sincere” and “good” man but a very poor leader, like a great many pastors today.
He didn’t heed warnings and didn’t even check them out to see if they were true (Je. 40:14-16). When he was warned of Johanan and other captains that the king of the Ammonites had sent Ishmael to kill him, Gedaliah didn’t believe them. In fact, he said, “thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.” Instead of checking out the warning to see if it was true, he rejected it out of hand. At the very least, it would be wise to check out a warning issued from a sincere captain of your own army, but Gedaliah wasn’t wise. He didn’t like warnings. He didn’t like “division.”
How many pastors are like this! He refused to listen to anything “negative” about a fellow Jew.
Gedaliah didn’t like warfare. Johanan volunteered to slay Ishmael, and his motive was right. Johanan said, “wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish” (Je. 40:15). Johanan’s motive was to protect the flock. But Gedaliah was a pacifist. He didn’t want to see any more warfare. He didn’t like fighting. As a result, he was killed and the flock was devoured and scattered.
Many Baptist pastors follow in these unwise footsteps. They are spiritual pacifists. They don’t give clear warnings and don’t like those who do. They don’t fight the good fight (1 Ti. 4:7). They don’t earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). They say they love the truth, but they don’t hate every false way” (Psa. 119:128). They teach truth but they don’t rebuke error. Gedaliahs look upon warners as troublemakers and divisive and attribute wrong motives them. As a result, their sheep are not protected. If not in their generation, then in the next generation their flocks are devoured by the world, the flesh, and the devil. The sheep are not protected from sin and error. Being untaught and ignorant. they are easy targets for false teachers.
Lord, raise up men of God who are not soft, pacifistic Gedaliahs!
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