By Chalabala

All leadership involves power. As Lord Acton famously said, ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’

A recent study, reported in The Atlantic, showed that the more powerful you are, the less empathetic you become.*

Leadership should not be embarked upon lightly, and those of us who are leaders should regularly evaluate our practice and character.

This passage shows us why: God cares about good leadership. The leaders of Israel had been ‘bad shepherds’ who had exploited their people for their own gain and treated the vulnerable ‘sheep’ callously (vv1–6).

A cursory read of the prophets explains what this was like in practice. God, in contrast, cares deeply for the vulnerable in our society and our churches.

God will judge severely any leader who is an oppressor (vv7–10). Israel and Judah had both suffered for centuries under corrupt leaders, but the time was coming when God, not humans, would shepherd the people (vv11–16).

A good shepherd was coming, who would also be God. When Jesus gives that title to Himself (John 10:14), He has this passage in mind.

He, as God, is the best leader for God’s people and the world. Church leaders have an even higher responsibility than political leaders because they speak of the things of God.

When tyrannical political leaders or abusive church leaders break our hearts, we can know that God is with us and will judge them.

Where we are vulnerable, He will heal us. We can cling to Jesus, our good shepherd, our true leader.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Good Shepherd, please give us good, humble, caring leaders. Where we have been hurt by abuses of power, please heal us. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Pray for your political and spiritual leaders. If you are a leader, regularly gather some truthful people you serve who can tell you if you’re abusing your power.

Scripture To Consider:
Num. 27:15–23; Ps. 23:1–6; John 10:1–18; 1 Pet. 5:1–7

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.