THE POWER OF INFLUENCE

I was reading this morning in the Book of Jeremiah and in chapter fifteen and verse one when The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away form my presence! Let them go!” He is talking about the Nation of Judah. The Northern tribes of Israel had already been taken into captivity by the Assyrians and Judah is about to follow them by being taken captive by Babylon. Jeremiah is God’s witness to the people to try to bring them to repentance. He told them that if they would stop their idolatry and return to the Lord he would forgive them and they would be his people and remain in the land God had given them. But they wouldn’t listen to Jeremiah. They kept making the plea that they had the temple of the Lord and that God would never allow them to be taken into captivity. God had vividly promised through Jeremiah that ruin is coming on them quickly. At times Jeremiah tries to plead with the Lord to give them more time or show them mercy. God responded to that request by saying that even if Moses and Samuel stood together to plead for them he would not listen to them.

In using this illustration about Moses and Samuel,God demonstrates how much influence these men had on God’s actions. If it made no difference who asked God or what they asked, this whole point would have been useless. God is noting that Moses and Samuel were men who were devoted to Him and that He listened to their pleas. If you go back and look at Moses life it is obvious that at times Moses actually changed the mind of God about what He would do with the Nation of Israel when they sinned against Him. When they made the golden calf and bowed to worship it as Jehovah, God was ready to wipe them out and start a new race of people from Moses. But Moses pleaded for mercy and God relented from his plan for their destruction. To read the book of I Samuel is to see the powerful influence Samuel had on Israel and on God. These were men who had God’s ear. Yet Judah had gone so far away from the Lord that even if Moses and Samuel were still there to pray for them, He wouldn’t pay any attention to them.

What made Moses and Samuel men of such powerful influence with God? They were men of great faith in the Lord, but it was more than that. They lived in constant communion with God. They talked with the Lord as one talks with a respected friend. They listened to the voice of God and followed what He told them to do. Certainly neither of them were perfect. But they were faithful to the Lord all the time.

But it wasn’t just these men that had influence with the Lord. God sent the angel Gabriel to tell Daniel that he was highly respected by God. Stephen was so valued by the Lord that when men stoned him to death heaven was opened for him to see Jesus standing at the right hand of God waiting for him. When Jesus talked to disciples in the great Sermon on the Mount he paid to his followers a huge compliment when he called us the “Salt of the earth” and “The light of the world.” Our influence in the world serves as a preservative for the earth. If you really want to save the earth then be the salt of the earth by living for God every day in the world. It is good to recycle things but you will do far more by living as a Christian in the world than you will by recycling. As salt of the earth we give the world flavor or taste. We as the light of the world give direction for people and shine the light of God onto them to let them see what can be in the world with God’s blessings.

Do you remember when God looked at Sodom and was ready to destroy it? Abraham prayed to God that if he could find fifty righteous people there, would God spare the city? God told him he would if there were fifty righteous people there. Abraham went all the way down to ten righteous people and God said if there were ten there he would save it. But ten couldn’t be found. In both Jeremiah and Ezekiel God asked the prophets to go through the streets of Jerusalem to see if they can find one righteous man who does right and tells the truth. Such a man couldn’t be found. The point seems to be that if just one really godly person could be found the city might be spared but they couldn’t find even one.

You have a powerful influence on other people. Which way are you leading those who look to you for direction? It matters deeply!

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About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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