6 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 49:23–50:46
Titus 1:1-16
Psalms 97:1–98:9
Proverbs 26:13-16

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Jeremiah 50:6-7 (NLT): “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold. All who found them devoured them. Their enemies said, ‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them, for they sinned against the LORD, their true place of rest, and the hope of their ancestors.’”

Reflections from Scripture:

In Jeremiah 50:6-7, we see a problem. A big problem!

God’s people had gone astray. They were pictured as sheep that had left the flock. In their defenseless condition, they had been devoured by the enemy.

Who did the Lord hold responsible for this? “Their shepherds have led them astray…”

Typically, the Old Testament’s use of the term “shepherd” was reserved for God or governmental leaders (Psalm 78:70-71; Isaiah 44:28; etc.). It is only in the New Testament that we come to understand that God’s men (pastors) were shepherds (1 Peter 5:2).

So, we see in Jeremiah 50:6-7 that poor leadership created an environment where the “sheep” were scattered and then devoured by the enemy. The governmental leaders were either incompetent or evil and had not made a safe place for their citizens to dwell. As a result, armies were able to come in and devour the people.

But, in the New Testament (the era in which we live), shepherds are pastors. They are the ones who lead the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2) by preaching the Word and leading people to become more like Jesus.

Believe me when I saw that pastoring can be an incredibly difficult and draining job. (Any pastor would readily agree with that last statement.) So, there is an incentive for pastors not to take their tasks seriously. They could relieve much of the stress they bring upon themselves by simply telling their congregations positive mumbo-jumbo and not addressing sin issues. But, in doing so, their flock would suffer for it.

So, pray for your pastor. Pray that God would give him courage. Pray for wisdom. Pray for endurance. Pray that he would not shrink from doing the job that God has called him to.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I pray for my pastor. I pray that he would allow Jesus to love his congregation through him. And I pray that my pastor’s love would lead him to faithfully study Your Word and then teach and lead according to the Truth, no matter how difficult it may make his life. We need men of courage in these tumultuous times. So please mold my pastor into a true shepherd, serving under You, Jesus, the Great Shepherd. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Steven Lasry on Unsplash