How the gold has lost its luster,
    the fine gold become dull!
The sacred gems are scattered
    at every street corner.

How the precious children of Zion,
    once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots of clay,
    the work of a potter’s hands!

Even jackals offer their breasts
    to nurse their young,
but my people have become heartless
    like ostriches in the desert.

Because of thirst the infant’s tongue
    sticks to the roof of its mouth;
the children beg for bread,
    but no one gives it to them.

Those who once ate delicacies
    are destitute in the streets.
Those brought up in royal purple
    now lie on ash heaps.

The punishment of my people
    is greater than that of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment
    without a hand turned to help her.

Their princes were brighter than snow
    and whiter than milk,
their bodies more ruddy than rubies,
    their appearance like lapis lazuli.

But now they are blacker than soot;
    they are not recognized in the streets.
Their skin has shriveled on their bones;
    it has become as dry as a stick.

Those killed by the sword are better off
    than those who die of famine;
racked with hunger, they waste away
    for lack of food from the field.

10 With their own hands compassionate women
    have cooked their own children,
who became their food
    when my people were destroyed.

11 The Lord has given full vent to his wrath;
    he has poured out his fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion
    that consumed her foundations.

12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
    nor did any of the peoples of the world,
that enemies and foes could enter
    the gates of Jerusalem.

1But it happened because of the sins of her prophets
    and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed within her
    the blood of the righteous

”Bad will be the day, for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still, in spite of all, the child of God.” Philips Brooks

”After forty-five years in ministry, here is what I have seen to be true: Jesus Christ came to comfort the troubled and trouble the comfortable.” Francis Frangipane

Complacency is spiritually dangerous, both for the individual, and for the collective soul of the church.

So is apathy.

Yesterday I read that ‘Christianity Today’s’ book of the year has been announced, and it is Uche Anizor’s Overcoming Apathy: Gospel Hope for Those Who Struggle to Care. I have made a mental note to have a look at it. Apathy is not the same as complacency, but they are surely related? First cousins I would say. Both share a similar numbness towards things which matter.

One thing leaders must not lose sight of is the fact that they set the ‘tone’ for church life. They cannot afford to be complacent or apathetic. The ‘atmosphere’ of the shepherd’s own heart will prove infectious – for good or ill. But in the case of Judah’s leaders, their failures went way beyond complacency and apathy. They were in outright rebellion towards God’s Word, and responsibility for the terrible judgment that fell upon the people is laid squarely at their door.

It is a serious sin indeed to lead people into error. Peter writes about those who ”distort” the Scriptures ”to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).