Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Woe to the Shepherds

August 13: Jeremiah 23-25

1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. 3 Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.

5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
Jeremiah 23:1-6

Woe to the Shepherds

As we walk through the book of Jeremiah, we find that the text is loaded with double meaning. Primarily, our passage for today centers on the disobedience of the Israelites, the resulting judgment of God, and the promise of Christ's return to rule as the Righteous Branch.

Because much of the prophecies written in the Old Testament have not yet come to pass, we often dismiss them as unimportant to us, especially to those of us who are Gentiles and have been grafted in to God's holy people. We could not make a more tragic mistake! It is these very passages and the warnings associated with their coming to pass, that cause us to realize that these events are not very far in the future.

But, what is the other meaning? Who are the shepherds? Jeremiah is speaking here of those responsible for instructing the people in the Word of God, showing them the way to salvation through Christ, and encouraging them to walk in faithful obedience to the Lord. Primarily this means the pastors God has put over His flocks, but it also carries over to everyone who is in an authoritative position, such as parents.

Does your pastor teach from the Word of God? Does your pastor believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God given to us to show us the way of salvation and to instruct us in the way we should live? Does your pastor believe the Bible is literal?

In this day, we must ask these questions; we are responsible for ourselves and our families, making sure we are hearing the truth. If you answered "no" to any of the questions above, find a church that believes the Bible. Did you know that the most important factor you should use in finding a good church is the preaching ministry?

Woe to the false shepherds, and woe to those under the good shepherds who refuse to hear the Word of God. It has been a long time since Christ lived on this earth, making it hard to believe that His coming is so near. Like the false shepherds, and the people who refused to hear the truth, do not allow yourself to be lulled into complacency!

God Bless You,

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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