“What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.
Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!
“For the time is coming,”says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety.
“In that day,” says the Lord, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” (Jeremiah 23:1-8)
Kings in the ancient Near East were often compared to shepherds. Good shepherds would protect and care for their people, but Judah’s kings instead drove their people away from the Lord.
Jeremiah contrasted the current corrupt leaders with the coming Messiah, who would be Jesus of Nazareth. A righteous descendant of King David’s line would one day become the king. This king would have wisdom and would act with justice and righteousness. His reign would contrast King Zedekiah’s unrighteous character and chaotic rule.
Has God put you in a leadership position? What kind of leader are you? Leaders are responsible for those entrusted to their care, and they are held responsible for what they do. Whom has God placed in your care? Remember that you are accountable to God for those you influence and lead. Jeremiah prophesied against kings who served only themselves and ignored the Lord’s instructions. Our actions may not be as wicked as theirs, but our attitudes can be just as corrupt. Follow the lead of Jesus, the Messiah, who reigns with justice and peace, and sacrifices his life for his sheep (John 10:15).