Read Jeremiah 23
Restoration foretold; Christ's rule promised; good and bad figs; seventy years' captivity; destruction of Babylon foretold.
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the Lord. . . . I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them (Jer. 23:1,4).
The word pastor was first used when referring to David because he was called from taking care of his father's sheep and anointed to be the shepherd-king over God's people.
Why did God choose David rather than his brothers? Perhaps because David risked his life on two occasions to save his father's sheep — once when they were being attacked by a lion and another time by a bear. He knew that he was accountable to his father for the care of the sheep. But more than this, he loved his sheep.
Mankind is often referred to as sheep. Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). A shepherd will lay down their life to protect his flock. He said: I lay down my life for the sheep. . . . and they shall hear my voice (10:15-16). David had a great love for God's people as well. Likewise, we must strive for a great sacrificial love for others. This is exceedingly important if we hope to serve God in any capacity. Serving God means serving those whom God loves so much, mankind. If we love God we will be willing to serve in this way. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep (John 21:17).
We also have a place of service in God's plan for caring for His sheep. If we are truly concerned over the spiritual welfare of others, the Holy Spirit will guide us in our giving, praying, and our serving. We must listen for the voice of God to direct us into this place of service. God has a particular work set aside for each one of us. He has chosen a special individualized office in the Body of Christ for you and for me. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues (I Cor. 12:28). There are many opportunities to serve in the work of the church and mission organizations that it should not be difficult to find a chance to use your gifts for the Lord.
Feed the flock of God which is among you (I Pet. 5:2).
Thought for Today:
When we put God first in our lives, He will take care of our needs.
AsThe Lord Our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6). Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (I Cor. 1:30; also II Cor. 5:21).
23:10 adulterers, forsakers of God for the false gods; because of swearing, because of the curse of God upon it; 23:32 lightness, vain boasting; 25:34 fall like a pleasant vessel, break like a valuable vessel; 25:38 covert, hiding place.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. Walter and Penny Swanson • Government Officials: Rep. Kathy Castor (FL), Rep. Ruben E. Hinojosa (TX), and Rep. Ron Paul (TX) • Country: Sao Tome and Principe (155,000) two larger and several smaller islands in the Gulf of Guinea, 125 miles off the western coast of Africa • Major language: Portuguese • Religious freedom is fairly new • 83% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant; 2% animist • Prayer Suggestion: Rely upon the Lord at all times; He is your refuge (Ps. 62:8).
Optional Reading: 1 John 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 18:2