“Her leaders issue rulings for a bribe, her priests teach for payment, and her prophets practice divination for silver. Yet they lean on the Lord, saying, ‘Isn’t the Lord among us? No disaster will overtake us.’ Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become ruins, and the temple’s mountain will be a high thicket.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
What kind of influence do you have? Who are some of the people who listen to you and are swayed by what you tell them to think differently than they did before? Who are the people in your life who look to you for assurance that the path they are taking is the right one? The fact is, most people have influence over someone. You have influence over someone. And if you do, how you use that influence matters a great deal.
Influence is power. When you have the ability or a position that allows you to convince people to do other than they would have otherwise done without your input, you have power. This power is something many people actively seek. Every young person who has ever surfed YouTube or scrolled through Instagram or TikTok wants to be like the viral stars that are so easy to find there.
But, the odds are that you already have influence over another person. This is particularly true if you are a parent. Your kids hang on your every word. No, I’m not crazy. Kids give their parents words and opinions a whole lot more weight than it might seem. They will grow to be like you in many ways whether they realize it or not and even whether they like it or not.
Even if you aren’t a parent though, you may be a supervisor at work. You may be a teacher. You may have some friends who look up to you. There are all kinds of situations in which we wield influence of some kind. The question is not whether we have it, but how we handle it.
In Micah’s day, many of the influencers of the day were mercenaries. I don’t mean they were hired soldiers, but they were willing to let their words be impacted by folks who were willing to pay them for such a privilege. They were essentially corporate pitchmen, which isn’t such a bad thing, except they were doing it while claiming to be a neutral third party. Or worse, they were claiming to speak for God while really speaking for whoever happened to be lining their pockets.
This is disgusting to see anywhere it happens. It is particularly disgusting, though, when these kinds of folks use their power and position to lead unwitting followers away from what is really true off into some lie because they were compensated well to do so. As angry as this kind of thing makes us, though, it makes God much, much more upset. It was bad enough in Jerusalem that He was ready to destroy the whole city because of the people who were doing it there.
All of this prompts a question in my mind: How am I using my own influence? Am I using it to point people to Jesus, or away from Him toward something else for my own gain? Am I consistently pointing my boys to love Jesus, or am I showing them that a relationship with Him comes second to some other things for the sake of my own convenience?
How about you? If you have influence (and you very likely have influence), how are you using it? Are you sending people in the direction of what is true, or to something false but which benefits you in the moment? God shares His power intentionally and He takes most seriously how it is used. If you and I aren’t wielding it wisely, there will be consequences for that. Let us be sure that everything we do in the lives of the people around us glorifies our risen Savior and no one and nothing else.