Season After Pentecost: The Old Testament Passage – Those who do a good job, and a not so good job, of “shepherding” the Lord’s sheep

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:1 – 2)

Who are these shepherds who have so injured the sheep of the Lord’s pasture? Judging by the context and comments from Jeremiah 22, I suspect it is the ruler’s of the Lord’s people at the time Jeremiah was written. The implication, so I assume, is that if the rulers had done a better job the Lord’s people would not have been taken captive and scattered throughout foreign nations, mainly Babylon. And the rulers of the nations were punished, both by their kingdoms being taken captive and they themselves suffering.

Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.”(Verses 3 – 4)

The story of the Israelites/Judahites who became the Jews was not that simple a story line – rescued and gathered up, and returned to their lands to be fruitful and multiply. Nor was it an easy time of waiting for the good shepherds to be raised up. And there was a long wait until the Good Shepherd came to the Lord’s people and perform that final and eternal rescue.

I am writing this on election day (yes, writing ahead), and I like everyone else in the United States and around the world are waiting to see who the next president will be. It will not be, however, a “righteous branch of David.”

The days are surely coming, says 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. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” (Verses 4 – 6)

This week, as you remember, we are looking today this Sunday as the Reign of Christ Sunday. How wonderfully ironic and coincidentally that it comes after election day in the United States. But no more so than if it were election day in any other nation. The Lord told the chosen people (through Samuel) that they should not want and pine after a king who was like the kings of other nations.

By the time you read this, beloved reader, we will know who has been elected president of the United States. And I am ever mindful that whoever it is, that the Lord has already raised up the best shepherd and leader that we will ever need. Selah!