Loving Shepherd, raise up leaders after Your own heart to care for Your people and bring Your church to maturity.
Read Jeremiah 23:1-8
 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD.  Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD.  “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.  I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.  “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.  “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’  but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are the characteristics of Israel's shepherds?
Leadership is always making the news. Political, business, even church leaders attract daily attention. Some of this may be unsolicited, whereas much of it is probably sought, because it’s important to be seen by others in the battle for ratings and influence. It’s not impressive now, and neither was it then. The words used to describe leadership are usually full of dynamism: powerful, decisive, active, authoritative, muscular, dominant. Rarely do leaders describe themselves as shepherds, pastors or servants. The leaders in Jeremiah’s time were meant to share God’s heart–to build the people up instead of destroying them with their greed. Yet these so-called “shepherds” (1,2) were divisive and destructive. Picking up on the most well-known image in Psalm 23, Jesus refers to himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11,14). His is an authority demonstrated through sacrifice, service, and death itself. This kind of power is not gained through calculating or measuring the influence gained. Loving and serving others by living out a vision of God’s kingdom is enough reward.
Honor, bless, and support your leaders. Pray that they seek intimacy with God and desire to be true to him alone.
Jesus, thank You that You are a Shepherd willing to lay down Your life for Your sheep. May we learn to lay down our lives.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.