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Jeremiah 23:1-18

Saturday, 10 October 2020

For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? -Jeremiah 23:18

Chapter 23 of Jeremiah speaks about how God deals with the shepherds whom He has placed over His people. Here God is rebuking them for leading the people astray into idolatry and other types of sins and is warning them of the punishment that has been decreed for their evil deeds. However, he assures the nation of Israel of restoration by bringing them back from where they have been scattered. At that time, God promises to put good shepherds who are obedient to his commandments to oversee them.

Now turning our focus to Jer. 23:18, we see what is expected of a priest or prophet to do- stand in the counsel of God, perceive, receive from Him, hear His Word and administer to His people! If the prophets speak “… a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord”(Jer. 23:16) it is misleading! This is why we are admonished through 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The Word we listen to and the prophecies we hear, are to be tested in the light of God’s Word before we receive them in our hearts.

What is expected of godly shepherds/leaders is very clear in the following Scripture:

  • Acts 20:28: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[c] which He purchased with His own blood.”

  • 1 Peter 5:2-3: “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;”

Leaders are to serve as overseers being examples to those God has placed under their care, keeping in mind that the very flock they are given stewardship of, has been purchased by the blood of Christ!

A word to us the flock: All authority is delegated from God and those in authority are accountable to God. Therefore the Bible tells us:

  1. Be submissive to authorities - since the way God governs is through establishing authorities on this earth, we cannot win if we go against it; instead, we come under His protection when we obey God-given authorities. Romans 13:1-2 says, “…the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God...”

  2. Pray for all authorities: In 1Timothy 2:1-1 Paul urges us to pray/intercede “— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” For those who have been made alive by the Spirit of God, the Bible is the authority for life, for it is the Word of the Author of Life. The only Righteous King is our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ as prophesied in Jeremiah 23:5-6. That is why we are exhorted to look towards Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) as our leader who can keep us on the right track as He speaks to us through His Word which we are to obey.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “The modern world detests authority but worships relevance. Our Christian conviction is that the Bible has both authority and relevance, and that the secret of both is Jesus Christ.” - John Stott

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