Today’s Bible reading is Jeremiah 23 and Matthew 10.
Jeremiah 23 contains two warnings worth thinking about today.
#1: Be careful who you listen to.
There have always been those who are willing to say, “Keep following your own stubborn heart. It’s okay to ignore the word of God. You have nothing to worry about; it’ll all be fine!” You’re likely to hear those words in 2020, but they’ve also been preserved for 2,600 years right there in Jeremiah 23:16-17, along with the warning that such messengers speak “of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” Whether in ancient or modern times, following this lead “fills” me “with vain hopes.”
#2: Remember who it all belongs to.
The LORD declares “Woe” in Jeremiah 23:1 “to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” Throughout the next few verses, the heart behind the warning is evident as God refers to “my people” and “my flock.” It all belongs to him.
The church belongs to Christ. When shepherds selflessly “care for the sheep” (23:4) as those who will give an account to the chief Shepherd, amazing good can be done.
The word belongs to God. When preachers and teachers refuse to “pervert the words of the living God” (23:36), opting instead to speak his word “faithfully” (23:28), sin and selfishness can be torn down. “Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (23:29). What gets built in its place can be eternally beautiful.
Everyone you lock eyes with today belongs to God. When we remember that each and every one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa 139:14), a unique expression of God’s own image (Gen 1:27), equally worthy of dignity, honor, and respect, we find ourselves at the trailhead of the path to loving our neighbors as ourselves, primed to follow in the footsteps of the Christ who gave his life for all.
(1) Be careful who you listen to and (2) remember who it all belongs to–good reminders for today from a 2,600-year-old prophecy.