12 Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.
We like to give leaders credit for the success of the groups they lead. We also like to blame them for collective failures. Here we have a clear example of a strong and righteous leader whose people did not follow where he led and who experienced tragic failures in spite of his righteous leadership. So our goal can’t be to compel those we lead and teach to be righteous, and we shouldn’t blame ourselves when they fail to follow our direction. We need to do all we can for them because we love them, and then we need to recognize their right to make their own decisions. We need to recognize that, as much as we want to help them be successful, their success ultimately depends on decisions which only they can make.