Southern Baptist Convention

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Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD (Jer. 23:1-4).

The word pastor was first used when referring to David because he was called from taking care of his father's sheep and anointed to be the shepherd-king over God's people. The youngest of Jesse's eight sons, David was chosen to serve God in this extraordinary way. Why? Perhaps it was because David was a boy of courage; he had risked his life on two occasions to save his father's sheep once when they were being attacked by a lion and another time by a bear. David understood the fact that he was accountable to his father for the care of the sheep, and, even more importantly, David loved his sheep enough to do whatever was necessary to keep them safe.

As God's creation, we are often referred to as sheep. As David grew in the Lord's calling, he showed as great a love for God's sheep (people) as he had his father's. Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). A shepherd will lay down his life to protect his flock. He said: As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (10:15-16). Following this example, we must strive for a great sacrificial love for others. This is exceedingly important if we hope to serve God in any capacity. Serving God means serving those whom God loves so much, mankind. If we love God, we will be willing to serve in this way. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep (21:17).

If we are truly concerned over the spiritual welfare of others, the Holy Spirit will guide us in our giving, praying, and our serving. We must listen for the voice of God to direct us into this place of service. He has chosen a special individualized office in the Body of Christ for each of us. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues (I Cor. 12:28). There are so many opportunities to serve in the work of the church and mission organizations that it should not be difficult to find a chance to use your gifts for the Lord.

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (I Pet. 5:2).

Thought for Today:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Is. 61:10).

Christ Revealed:

As THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jer. 23:5-6). Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (I Cor. 1:30; also II Cor. 5:21).

Word Studies:

23:10 adulterers = forsakers of God for the false gods; because of swearing = because of the curse of God upon it; 23:32 lightness = vain boasting; 25:34 fall like a pleasant vessel = break like a valuable vessel; 25:38 covert = hiding place.

Memory Verse:

John 15:1-5
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries