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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Jeremiah 23:3–4

Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. (NRSV)

The Lord is angry! The shepherds didn’t do their job. God sent them out with his flock to other countries. The shepherds were to be responsible for God’s people. Instead they failed, driving the people away and scattering them. The Lord is adamant! God tells the shepherds that they will be punished for not following God’s will. In addition, God indicates that he will now take charge and bring the people back to God’s fold. Not only is God doing this, but also God promises more.

God will help the people be productive and increase in numbers. Under God’s watch, the Lord will appoint shepherds who will take care of the people in all ways. The Lord declares that there will be no more fear or dismay, nor shall they be lacking.

As I reflect on this passage, I first think of some areas in life where at times responsibilities might not be carried out as anticipated. Perhaps a parent not keeping a commitment to a child, a teacher not meeting students’ expectations, a friend who is undependable, or a colleague who doesn’t do their share of the work. We, too, feel disappointed, confused, and angry.

But then I think of the upside of this passage: that with our faith in God, we can trust God to correct the wrongdoing, bring us back into God’s fold with a promise of an even better life with no fear, distress, and our needs met.

Lord, how in awe I am of your willingness to stand up for our well-being, taking us from times of turmoil. How I treasure your bringing us back to your fold with the faith of the promise of a better life. Amen.

Written by Pamela Block, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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