Tag: woe to false shepherds
Scripture reading for August 10th: Jeremiah 21-25
“Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. for what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:28-29
When we were much younger and had small children we were in a church that sang Scripture songs from all over the Bible. A lady named Laura who played an auto harp would use her King James Bible and lead us in singing. One of the songs we sang was from these verses in Jeremiah. It was a catchy tune and my younger son Marshal picked it up and was always singing it. It is interesting to note that Marshal is preaching God’s word today and these truths are still working!
Jeremiah had to deliver some hard messages to his own peers in the ministry of that day. He spoke a word to the shepherds of that day and accused them of scattering the sheep and destroying them. (Jeremiah 23:1-3) They were not caring for God’s people and were bringing about their death and captivity. The shepherds he was talking to were the kings of Judah. He warned them repeatedly but few appreciated his warnings! (Jeremiah 22:11-12) (Jeremiah 22:28-30) He spoke of woe, death, captivity and loss of the land; some accused Jeremiah of being a traitor because of his strong words.
God, Himself, promised to raise up a ‘righteous Branch’ from the line of David who would restore justice and save the nation. (Jeremiah 23:5-6) This righteous king would bring God’s people out of captivity in the lands where they would be scattered and bring them into their own land. (Jeremiah 23:7-8)
The godless priests and prophets were the cause of the people going astray. They committed adultery and lived a lie. They prophesied by Baal, the false idol of the Canaanites and led the people astray.(Jeremiah 23:13-14) They told people who were living in sin and stubbornness that they would have peace when God’s word said they would have trouble. (Jeremiah 23:16-17) God was about to send a storm that would destroy the wicked and the prophets should have been giving them God’s word to encourage them to turn around.
God’s word never fails to produce the results that it speaks of. Jeremiah saw the word of God as a fire. The fire would burn out the dross to refine the metal and burn up the chaff as it swept the wicked away. Jeremiah saw God’s word as being a strong hammer that could shatter solid rock. The hardened hearts would be broken by this hammer. Jeremiah’s heart was broken and his bones trembled at the thought of God’s holy words and their supernatural power. (Jeremiah 23:9) There are many gracious promises in God’s word, but also some very disturbing promises of judgment. Let the Spirit, light, and life of God’s word keep you from the fire and hammer!