The Scriptorium

The King and His Shepherds

There is good news among the bad. Jeremiah 22, 23

Shepherds False and True (7)

Pray Psalm 86.10-12.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

Sing Psalm 86.10-12.

(Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
For You are great, You wondrous deeds do;
You are the only and sovereign Lord.
Teach me Your way, let me give heed to,
with all my heart, Savior, all Your Word!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
praise Your Name forever, Lord!

Review Jeremiah chapters 22, 23; meditate on Jeremiah 23.3-6

Prepare.
1. What images did God use to describe His relationship to His people?

2. What does each of these images suggest?

Meditate.
Judah’s problems stemmed from the fact that they had been “shepherded” by false “shepherds.” The priests, prophets, and kings of Judah were supposed to watch over the Lord’s people like a flock, feeding them from His Word and nurturing them in His Law. But Judah’s shepherds proved false, as they turned from the Lord to worship and serve false gods, and to practice the ethics of abomination.

Here, very shortly before the final phase of Jerusalem’s downfall, God offers the promise of hope for a coming day. He will bring His people back to the land. He will gather them from all the countries where they have been scattered, and He will give them faithful shepherds to help them be fruitful and increase.

And He will fulfill the promise He made to David, of a King to reign on his throne forever. A King is coming Who will accomplish all the promises of God to His people, leading them in the way of justice, righteousness, peace, prosperity, and salvation. This King has a Name: “The LORD Our Righteousness.” The people of Israel and Judah had failed to fulfill the righteousness God requires. This coming King will be their righteousness, and He will lead them into the salvation of the Lord.

It’s not hard to see Jesus here, the coming King of all the earth, and the disciples and faithful shepherds He has set over His people throughout the ages.

When all seems uncertain, unclear, and tending to hopelessness, God does not fail. We can rely on His Word. His King is on the throne, and we all are appointed as shepherds to one another, to feed and nurture and watch out for each other according to the Word of God. Thus we may know the promises of God, and be at peace in the midst of whatever hard times we may have to endure.

Reflect.
1. Why is “shepherd” a good way of thinking about those God has set over His people?

2. Why is it important to know that God’s King – our Lord Jesus – is our righteousness?

3. How can Christians shepherd one another so that we can “be fruitful and increase”?

It is necessary that we understand, however, that it is the Lord Jesus Christ, a descendant of David according to the flesh, who is proclaimed by the prophets as “the righteous dawn,” “the righteous king” and “the Lord of righteousness.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466), On Jeremiah 5.23.5-6

King Jesus, You are our Good Shepherd! Feed and guide me today as I…

Pray Psalm 86.1-9.

Ask the Lord to give you specific opportunities to shepherd and encourage His people today.

Sing Psalm 86.1-9.
Psalm 86.1-9 (Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
Bow down Your ear, O Lord and hear me;
I am afflicted and much in need!
Rescue my godly soul, be near me;
save me, O God, all my crying heed!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
all day long I pray and plead.

Lift up my soul, fill me with gladness;
Lord You are good, You will soon forgive.
Show me abundant lovingkindness;
let all who call on You ever live.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
heed to my poor pleading give.

When in my trouble, Lord, I call You,
You answer me; there is none like You!
There are no works like Yours, and all whom
You have created shall worship You.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
all shall glory give to You!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore