If you want a good, concise picture of why God is so upset with His people, you have only to read the first three chapters of Micah. Evil abounds. Folks lay awake at night plotting how they can save themselves, or get ahead of their neighbors. Influenced by the sins of the northern kingdom, Israel, the plague of wickedness has infected Judah. God sees Israel’s evil as incurable and so her capital, Samaria, will become a heap of rubble. But the malignancy has spread to the extent that even Judah will not be able to save herself (see 2:10,13).
While the sinfulness is widespread, God lays its blame particularly at the feet of the leaders of the people: political leaders, the royal family, and particularly the prophets share the blame because they could have done something, but they chose not to do so.
It is not the function of leaders just to rule. Their main role is to lead and they must do so by example and enforce it with the power of their position. Not everyone can hold this significant place of leadership, but all of us are called to lead. In whatever position you find yourself, you should determine to be an example for others to follow. They may not follow you. But it is not your job to make them follow, only to provide a light through the darkness in a way that makes the lighted path desirable.
The people are not let “off the hook” because their leaders failed them. They are responsible themselves for knowing the right way and following it. They are not responsible for the deception of those who replace the truth for the message everyone wants to hear. They are responsible for knowing better, and for being deceived. No one is innocent before God. Everyone has responsibility to live in the way of holiness – or else.