Friday after Misericordias Domini
Posted on April 23, 2021 byunder
Scripture: Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NKJV)
23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. 3 “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
False teachers and bad shepherds are dangerous because they commit their unrighteous acts in the name of the Lord. If they were just coming as unrighteous men, doing nasty and hateful things, they would be easy to avoid. But men who ignore the righteousness of God’s whole council and yet say “This is the Lord’s will” leave the flock confused. They feed God’s people, but they feed them out of their own self-will, not out of the holy judgment and divine mercy that Christ commands. So the Lord rightly says to such negligent shepherds, “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them.”
Faithful shepherds strive to feed the saints of God’s flock with the righteousness that only comes from Christ Jesus. Our Lord was strong in His rebukes against faithless hypocrisy, but He was also patient and merciful with those who trusted in Him. Through the history of the Church there are copious examples of failure to one extreme or the other. Israel had negligent holy men and harsh kings; the church of the Papists lost sight of the true Gospel, and many modern Protestant bodies neglect the discipline of God’s Law.
The true Church and faithful undershepherds cling to the Word of God and are made strong in Christ’s commands. The people may stumble, but by God’s Spirit they repent. They may have to endure problems, but their fear is taken away by faith and hope that is focused on Christ crucified.
Prayer: God, who by the humiliation of Thy Son didst raise up the fallen world, grant unto Thy faithful ones perpetual gladness, and those whom Thou hast delivered from the danger of everlasting death do Thou make partakers of eternal joys; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.