Good and Bad Shepherding
May 17, 2011 § 3 Comments
Elna Solvang writes the following about Jeremiah 23:1-8: “Jeremiah prophesied in the final years of the Kingdom of Judah, through the reign of the final king, Zedekiah. While Zedekiah’s name means “my righteousness is the LORD,” his reign was far from righteous. Judah’s experience with bad shepherding – as well as our own – can foster cynicism about leaders. God confronts despair, announcing that there will be a ruler rightly called “the LORD is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6). This “righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5, see also Jeremiah 33:14-16) is not identified. Elsewhere the “Branch” appears to be Zerubbabel, the Persian-appointed governor of Judah (Zechariah 3:8; 6:12). It is important to recognize two dimensions of this promise. First, God promises to continue working through the ages to raise up shepherds who will “deal wisely and …execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5). And secondly, God promises a fullness of righteousness reigning through Jesus Christ, the good shepherd for us all.” Let us pray for the ability of elected officials to be good shepherds in God’s kingdom.