A Righteous Branch
Loving Father, my first glimpse of today is a reminder of Your faithfulness. You’re with me as I wake. Thank You.
Read JEREMIAH 23:1-8
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
The king was numbered among the “shepherds” of Judah/Israel. The failures of the royal house have already been well canvassed by Jeremiah. Now he considers the consequences of those failures on those who were led, God’s “flock” (3). Although some may have done nothing wrong, they are forced to share with their leaders the alienation of exile and consequent loss of identity that we saw yesterday. However unfair that may seem, it’s true that failures in leadership have an impact on those for whom the leaders are responsible. Those of us who presume to lead need to live constantly with Jesus’ chilling reminder that of those “who [have] been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48, TNIV).
Whatever the failures of their leaders, God cares deeply about the dispossessed sheep. For their sakes he does not abandon the failed house of David. Instead, he causes a “righteous Branch” (5) to sprout from the stump. Leadership will be restored, and it will bring the security that was sought idolatrously by the final kings of Judah (6; cf 22:21). The new king’s reign will be characterized by the righteousness and justice that was lacking in those kings (5; cf 22:13). The outcome of wise rule will be restoration of identity and belonging through a new exodus experience (7,8).
By introducing the word “savior” (6, absent in the Hebrew), the TNIV reads the Messiah in this passage. Jeremiah probably saw deliverance through a return to the land after exile. From this side of the cross we can see in Jesus the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s vision of security and belonging for his people. For, as Mary foresaw of the son she would bear, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:53). May our practice of leadership reflect those concerns.
In any leadership role you have, pray for blessings on those you lead.
Dear Lord, I pray for pastors and church leaders. May they walk with You in fellowship as they lead and serve Your people. May their ministries truly honor You.
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