“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 23: 1

 

Not everyone leads well, and not all leaders do this task with God’s truth in view s they set the course for their work. Some may say pious sounding things and even quote Scripture in the process, but the real intent is to take the flock away from the righteousness of God’s kingdom and into a more worldly perspective on how things should be done. Their goals are usually set along the lines of dominion, power, personal wealth, and oppression for all who have no value in those schemes and destruction for those who themselves differ with them. These shepherds can be very popular as they appeal to our outward desires as they grant access and power to people who agree with them and to those whose wealth and position are useful to gaining more traction in the never ending quest for expansion of a net of influence. This is not a pretty picture, and this sort of thing occurs in governments, in churches, and in secular society with far too much regularity. We need to fear these leaders and we need to guard our own hearts from falling into the trap of their thinking, for the Lord is not honored by them and in it.

 

Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD.”

Jeremiah 23: 2

 

God places the shepherds who do these things, the ones who lead people away from righteousness and from the clear counsel of Scripture, on notice. He will not allow this sort of thing to go one forever. He may wait for generations to act, but His response will come, and He will bring justice to those who lead unjustly, and righteous anger will be poured out upon those who guide the people of God’s kingdom into the unholy ground of worldly thinking and living. God is not blind to what is happening, and He does hear the words that our hearts and minds utter in response to the needs of the weak and the disadvantaged in our world. His heart is broken when we turn the resources of our world into weapons of dominion and conquest in order to kill and to maim with greater force and efficiency while others starve and are left helpless in the wake of all of this violence. These leaders make wealth the text of their scriptures, power the theme of their gospel, and personal glory the objective of all worship. Again, God sees and knows all of this, and He is not pleased by any who do these things or who support them.

 

Foe who among them has stood in the council of the Lord

to see and to hear his word,

or who has paid attention to his word and listened?

Jeremiah 23: 18

 

This is the question that each and every one of us who claim to follow Christ need to be asking, and we need to be asking it regularly. When we agree with the direction that our social institutions, our church, our community, and our nation are taking, where are those leaders going for wisdom and council? This calls into question the goals and the objectives of everything that forms and frames the structure of our world. There is only one place where truth resides, and that is in God’s Word. The Lord alone authors wisdom, and all other ideas and concepts that claim to be wise are nothing more than the vain foolishness of humanity, and this has led us into paths of destruction and death since the earliest of the days of Creation. As stated above, God does hold the shepherd accountable for the way that the flock is led, but He also holds each of His people accountable for the way that we spoke up for His Gospel of life and for how well we trust in Him as we strive for justice, peace, and the spread of that Gospel as our primary concern and objective in life. Each of us needs to be able to answer Jeremiah’s question with an unflinching, “I do!” And each of us should also be requiring that all of our leaders respond to the same questioning in honest affirmation of the Lord, or we need to counsel them in the truth and oppose those who do not respond in the name of that same Lord.