Today’s Bible reading* includes some very strong warnings for those entrusted with the care of God’s people. Specifically, Jeremiah is addressing the spiritual leaders people of Judah and Israel. Instead of leading God’s people to gather around the heart of God, these leaders are scattering God’s people. But God promises to bring His people back. Not all of them, but those who turn back to follow Him. He Himself will become their Shepherd.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” This is the LORD’s declaration. “Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who tend my people: You have scattered my flock, banished them, and have not attended to them. I am about to attend to you because of your evil acts”—this is the LORD’s declaration.
“I will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. I will raise up shepherds over them who will tend them. They will no longer be afraid or discouraged, nor will any be missing.” This is the LORD’s declaration.
Jeremiah 23:1–4 (CSB)
As I read these words this morning preparing for this devotional, I realized that this Word is not just for my readers. It’s for me!
I’ve been entrusted with the care of God’s people at church. I’ve been entrusted with the care of God’s people in my family. And I’ve been entrusted with the care of God’s people through my Social Media, blogging, and writing ministry.
This is what the LORD of Armies says:
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are deluding you. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the LORD’s mouth. They keep on saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD has spoken: You will have peace.’ They have said to everyone who follows the stubbornness of his heart, ‘No harm will come to you.’ ”
Jeremiah 23:16–17 (CSB)
I must let God’s Word work in my heart so that it can work in the hearts of those God entrusts to my care. I can’t let myself get distracted by popular opinion or cultural opinion. I must guard what I read and hear. I must be very careful to ensure that what I say God says is what God actually says.
And the only way that can happen is if I immerse myself in God’s Word. Every. Single. Day.
But this Word isn’t just limited to pastors and church leaders. Every one of us can apply this Word to our lives, by staying in the Bible and feeding ourselves every day. (Joshua 1:8; Colossians 3:16)
If you hear someone claim to speak for God, if you see a comment on your Social Media feed claiming to be something from God, it’s your responsibility to run it through God’s written Word.
If it’s a Word from God, it won’t contradict His written Word, but will repeat it or complement it.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: