Have you ever thought about the word woe? Woe is like saying “lookout,” be afraid—misfortune, anguish or calamity approach. Woe is a get-the-sleep-out-of-your-eye-now, kind of word. It is the preparatory command for trouble. Woe receivers are getting a spiritual wakeup call. Woe rejecters deserve apocalyptic trouble!
Jeremiah 22:13-15--Woe for the one who builds his palace through unrighteousness, his upper rooms through injustice, who makes his fellow man serve without pay and will not give him his wages, who says, “I will build myself a massive palace, with spacious upper rooms.” He will cut windows in it, and it will be paneled with cedarand painted with vermilion. Are you a king because you excel in cedar? Didn’t your father eat and drink and administer justice and righteousness? Then it went well with him.
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, delivered a woe message to Judah’s King Jehoiakim. God detests rulers who amass luxury and power through unrighteousness and injustice. He blesses those who live righteously and treat people well. Guess what? It is no different today. Woe to those who sit in authority and hurt the people they should be serving. Woe to those who lie to get what they want. Woe to those who cheat and steal to make their fortunes. Woe to those who wield power and bludgeon the innocent.
The secret to gaining God’s blessing as leaders is not a secret—it is the proven truth of following the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12); obeying God’s Word (1 Kings 11:38), and living righteously (Isaiah 33:15-16). God was willing to give kings dynasties if they followed Him. Still, king after king rebelled to live flesh-pleasing lives. Corrupt leaders are not a new sensation—they have always been around. Our responsibility is to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1,2) and we should take this seriously if we expect God’s assistance. We should be willing to share woe admonitions if the opportunity presents itself.
I was once asked to deliver a woe message to the president of Uganda from high ranking officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I did what was asked and it did not go well. The president did not like what he heard and he was not shy about lecturing me. At least he didn’t shoot the messenger! The important thing was I had a moral responsibility to share truth and because the opportunity arose I was able to do so. Woes matter.
The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up heart, let’s neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.—John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress
©2021 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)