Jeremiah 23

Jeremiah 23 has our prophet continuing to call out those who are leading the people astray.  In this chapter, He condemned unfaithful shepherds. In those days kings and other leaders were often called shepherds.  And they were leading the people away from God.  “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”.  There is responsibility that comes with leadership.  And God is going to hold all who lead accountable, particularly when they lead His people astray.

In spite of their poor leadership, God does have a plan to redeem His people.  “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”.  God is always on the throne, even when kings and leaders are corrupt or walk in ways that are against His will.  He has a plan for the time at hand, and for all time.  He makes that clear when He talks about His plan for the ages – the coming Messiah.

At the end of the previous chapter God had promised that none from the royal line of Jeconiah would sit on the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:30). It seemed as if the royal line of David was cut down like a tree and only a stump remained. Yet God would take that stump and bring forth a green shoot, a Branch.  “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”.  Jesus is the Lord Our Righteousness.  He is the coming king!

But Jeremiah has to deal with the reality of his day – bad leaders.  He makes it clear that “they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray….they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me….they say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord,  ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who  stubbornly follows his own heart, they say,  ‘No disaster shall come upon you”.  They are wrong.  Destruction is coming.  God can’t stand by and watch them continue to sin.  “I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and  perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten”.  God’s righteousness and holiness can’t stand idly by.  He will deal with sin.

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