The Shepherds Who Destroy

Tuesday, September 03, 2013, 6:28 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “He Keeps Me Singing” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 23 (ESV):

Shepherds Who Scatter

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

“…the land is full of adulterers;
…Their course is evil,
and their might is not right.
Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
even in my house I have found their evil,
declares the Lord.”

“…in the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen a horrible thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies;
they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one turns from his evil;
all of them have become like Sodom to me,
and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”

…if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds.”

This morning the Lord Jesus reminded me of some things he had shown me previously about these shepherds who scatter and destroy the flock of the Lord, i.e. who are out to obliterate the saints of Almighty God. First of all, they work for Satan, not for God. And, Satan’s greatest enemy is God/Jesus Christ, and so he pursues Christ’s followers with full force (See Rev. 12), with the intent to both deceive and recapture Christ’s followers for his kingdom, and/or to destroy them entirely.

You see, we once were held captive to sin and to the control of Satan (in slavery to sin). Yet, when we fled to take hold of the hope we have in Jesus Christ, we left sin and Satan in the dust. He doesn’t take rejection lying down. You see, in a manner of speaking, Satan is a lot like a jealous husband. In other words, he is passionately jealous of our relationships with Jesus Christ, and he wants nothing more than to destroy both Christ and his followers, or certainly to destroy the love between the two.

Satan’s greatest weapon against us has always been deception, i.e. the twisting of truth and the planting of doubts in our minds concerning God and his will for our lives. He can be charming, manipulative, clever, funny, and witty, and we might easily follow his lies because we like his personality (in humans, that is). He can be a funny clown on the outside, but something entirely different on the inside. He may act like he is our best friend while he is plotting our destruction behind our backs. So, we need to be wise and discerning about the shepherds over us (politically and religiously), testing to see if they are of God.

I can’t speak of all political leaders in all nations, but I do know that our leaders in Washington, D.C., for the most part, are following Satan, not God. They are Satan’s instruments (servants) to do his bidding. They deceive the people, scheme against mankind, carry out their wicked and evil plans, and then blame others for their evil deeds. Not only do they blame others, but then they feel justified in going into other nations - consuming, looting, killing, and taking over. They do not act alone, though, for truly they are servants not only of Satan but of what we call the New World Order (alias the beast). They have allies who work with them in doing Satan’s work. Yet, they cover their evil deeds with fake stories, cleverly crafted dramas called politics, and much, much deception. Their goal is to deceive the saints of God and to bring them back to Satan, so that they might reject Christ as their one true love and Savior. If they can’t get us to deny our Lord, then their goal is to obliterate us, hoping they will kill Christ and his witness in the process.

In the church, these shepherds also speak lies and deceptions, manipulate the people with clever marketing schemes, and dilute the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more palatable, agreeable, friendly, non-judgmental, comfortable, non-threatening, and pleasing (fun). The biggest indictment against such shepherds here is that they did not stand in the council of the Lord, but they followed after their own cleverly made up stories, otherwise they would have spoken God’s true words to the people, and would have turned them away from their evil deeds. In other words, so many church leaders today are not teaching the true gospel, but are teaching we don’t have to turn from our sins and we don’t have to obey Christ’s commandments for salvation. Yet, Jesus and the apostles taught that we do. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny (disallow) himself (his self-life), take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) Jesus Christ; and that whoever holds on to his old life of sin will lose it for eternity, but whoever loses his life of living for self and for sin, for the sake of Christ and his gospel, will gain eternal life (See Lu. 9:23-25).

Cautions and Warnings

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

For 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?

We need to first of all be discerning and wise, and we need to test everything we hear against the word of God to make sure it adds up to what God’s will and purposes are for our lives. The Bible speaks much about not putting our faith in man; in princes who cannot save us, but to put our hope only in the Lord. There is a reason for this. Man is human and humans can deceive us, so that is why we must not believe everything we hear and read, but we must take what we hear and read before the Lord in prayer, seeking his counsel.

Many today are filling the minds of the people with vain hopes, including those who teach a false grace which teaches we don’t have to turn from our sins and we don’t have to obey Christ. This gives people a false hope of heaven absent of the cross of Christ in their lives. Yet, politicians, too, are guilty of filling people’s minds with false hopes all the while they are plotting our ruin and our destruction as a nation, and also are plotting the demise of Christ’s true followers and witnesses (his servants).

God’s Justice

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”

“Therefore their way shall be to them
like slippery paths in the darkness,
into which they shall be driven and fall,
for I will bring disaster upon them
in the year of their punishment,
declares the Lord.”

Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets:
“Behold, I will feed them with bitter food
and give them poisoned water to drink,
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord.

Behold, the storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intents of his heart.
In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

“…therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.”

God will one day judge these false shepherds of the people (see the book of Revelation, for one). Though they may lie to and deceive the people of God, and/or all people, God can see their wicked schemes done in their secret places, and he will remember them. So, we need to come out from them and be separate so that we don’t share in their punishment. We need to daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and we need to submit our lives over to the Lord Jesus, trusting him to work his will and his ways in and through our lives for his glory. And, we need not fear what mankind might do to us or say about us, but we need to entrust our lives, our reputations and our futures into the capable hands of our loving Lord, who will one day take us to be with him. Amen!

He Keeps Me Singing / Luther B. Bridgers

There's within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low:
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still,
In all of life's ebb and flow.

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife,
Discord filled my heart with pain;
Jesus swept across the broken strings,
Stirred the slumbering chords again.

Though sometimes he leads through waters deep,
Trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See his footprints all the way.

Feasting on the riches of his grace,
Resting neath his sheltering wing,
Always looking on his smiling face,
That is why I shout and sing.

Soon he's coming back to welcome me
Far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown;
I shall reign with him on high.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.