Jeremiah 6:13-15—For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
God’s cry against the people was that there could not be found one righteous in Judah. He declared that Israel was not as bad as Judah had become. The passage today lists some of the specific sins they were guilty of. It is hard for us to relate to the idolatry, worshipping carved images, but we can readily relate to the greed for gain. The greed for gain had permeated the entire nation from the beggar to the king. When our eyes turn from God to the things that He has made, we seek security in possessions. We should be looking to God who is the giver of all good things. Instead, we trust in His gifts and focus on how to attain them. The prophets and priests were all practicing deceit. The very ones people looked to for truth were deceiving the people in the name of God. In this generation, we have seen a number of big-name religious personalities who were caught in their deceit. How many more go uncaught? Only God knows. Consider their way of life and the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, not just their ability to impress you. The religious leaders preached peace when destruction was coming upon them. When they should have been preaching conviction of sin, they taught that everything was fine. The heartbreaking thing is that it did not even bother their conscience. They had done it for so long that their hearts were hardened against God. A comfortable today was their only goal. They were about to face judgment.
2 Peter 1:20-21—Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The Scriptures are not just the ideas of man. They did not originate in the will of man. There was a much greater power guiding and carrying their speech and writings. The world would call them inspired. That literally means breathed into. In this passage, we have more of a sense of being picked up by a hurricane and carried. Certainly, there was the personality of the prophet involved, but the hand of the omnipotent God was moving his thought and speech. It was not that they were robots without a will, but neither did the ideas and words originate in them. God works in the same way with us today. He uses the personality that He designed to fit into the purpose for which He created us. We think we came up with a wonderful idea, but all along it was planned before we were created. The Spirit of God carries us into places of ministry and divine encounters that we might think had their origin in our will but were always a part of His marvelous plan. Keep your eyes open to the wonderful workings of God in your life. Realize that He is intricately involved in the details of your life. When something amazing happens, know that He planned it before He created you. Rejoice in the wonderful plans He prepared in advance for you.
1 Peter 5:2-4—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; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Peter is addressing the elders that read the letter to the local church. You will find that the New Testament always addresses elders in a city in the plural. The elders were the overseers of each church. They are to serve willingly, not out of obligation. Shepherding a congregation has many difficulties. It isn’t a job that was readily desired, for it means going above and beyond in service. It means a life that exemplifies the life of Christ. The elders are not chosen for their status in life. Some might come from a low-income level and find the financial support of the believers to be more than they made in their former employment. Usually they end up living on substantially less income. Finances should never be a factor in whether they accept a call or not. From rich or poor backgrounds, elders should serve because God wants them to. An elder’s chief desire should be to please the Lord. The elders are not to throw their weight around in an authoritarian way. In everything, they should be an example to the flock. Even when discipline is necessary, they should do it with love and gentleness. For this life of service and sacrifice, there is a promise to look forward to.
The Chief Shepherd will give the faithful ones a crown of glory that will never fade.