By Henry Mahan
This scripture is so applicable to our day that it could have been written this morning. The prophet deals with four powerful and present truths!
1. He pronounces woe and judgment on false preachers and pastors. (vv. 1-2)
2. He promises that God's elect will be called out of all nations, and true shepherds and pastors shall feed them. (vv. 3-4)
3. He presents the Messiah, our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, who is the hope of all believers and the message of every true preacher. (vv. 5-6)
4. He declares that in comparison with the salvation of Christ, the deliverance out of Egypt would not even be spoken of. (vv. 7-8)
vv. 1-2. In all ages there have been false prophets and preachers. Our Lord called them 'wolves in sheep's clothing' (Matt. 7:15-16). Peter said, 'There were false preachers in Israel and there shall be false preachers in the church who bring in damnable heresies, and many shall follow them' (2 Peter 2:1-3).
Paul called them 'ministers of Satan' (2 Cor. 11:13-15) and their message 'doctrines of devils' (1 Tim. 4:1-3). But no one spoke out more strongly against these false preachers than Jeremiah, the weeping prophet (Jer. 9:1).
1. He charged them all with greed and covetousness (6:13 cf. Ezek. 34:1-3).
2. He said they give people a false peace. (6:14)
3. He charged them with denying God's judgment against sin. (14:13-14)
4. Their message is not the word of God but rather their own thoughts. (23:16-17)
5. They preach their dreams and visions and keep God's word from the people. (23:25-32)
The sad thing about this is that, because of the depravity and deceitfulness of the human heart, people prefer to hear the words of the false preachers rather than the word of God. Read Jer. 5:31, John 3:19, John 5:43, and II Tim. 4:3!
vv. 3-4. When we look about us at the vast religious organizations steeped in tradition, idolatry, and false doctrine, when we behold the multitudes of people who claim to be Christians but who have no knowledge of the living God, no love for the Lord Jesus, no evidence of the new birth, and no commitment to holiness, when we hear all of the popular preachers with their messages of works and free-will, we are made to wonder with Elijah, 'Am I the only one left?' or to ask with the apostles, 'Lord, are there few that be saved?' But God says--
'I will gather my flock.' Our Lord has an elect people, never doubt it! The Father gave them to him (John 6:37-39; 17:2,9), they were chosen and given to him in eternity past (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13); Christ loved them and gave himself for them (John 10:14-16); they shall all be justified, called, and glorified (Rom. 8:28-31).
'I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them.' Election is not salvation; it is unto salvation. Those whom the Father has chosen, those whom the Son has redeemed must be quickened by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:1) through the word (James 1:18, I Pet. 1:23) preached by faithful preachers (Rom. 10:13- 17). All must hear the gospel, repent, and believe that gospel (2 Thess. 2-13; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 1:21; John 5:24; Rom. 1:16- 17).
'They shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor lacking.' The true pastors shall comfort them with God's promises in Christ, establish them in the word of God, and they shall grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ through the word (Eph. 4:11-15).
vv. 5-6. Here is the gospel, the good news, the children's bread, the hope of the believer, and the central fact of all scripture! Here is the summary of redemption and the one way God can be a just God and a Saviour (Rom. 3:25-26).
'Behold the days come.' All days, events, promises, and patterns before Jesus Christ came to earth pointed to that day in the fullness of time when he was born; and all days in the future look back to that hour in which he died for sinners.
'The Lord will raise unto David a righteous branch.' Salvation is of the Lord. The Father purposed, planned, and sent the Son.
It is the will of God that prepared him a body, made him the Seed of David, the Son of Man, and our Substitute (Heb. 10:7- 10; Phil. 2:5-11).
'The Lord raised up the king who executed judgment and justice in the earth.' Jesus Christ is Son of man and Son of God.
Jesus Christ is the servant, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and also God Almighty--King (Rom. 1:3-4; Isa. 9:6; 2 Cor. 5:19-21).
'In his days Judah and Israel shall be saved and dwell safely.' True Judah and Israel is not that Old Testament nation which was but a national people and a picture. True Israel, the true seed of Abraham, are the elect of God in Christ out of every nation on earth (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 3:7, 16, 26-29). These shall all be saved.
'The name whereby our Lord is called is the Lord our righteousness.' He is our righteousness, having by his perfect life imputed unto us the very holiness of God (Rom. 10:1-4). He is our justification, having honored and satisfied every demand of justice by his death. It is his name that saves, his name upon whom we call, and his name by which we are called the righteousness of God! (Jer. 33:16).
vv. 7-8. 'Behold the days come' and are here in Christ when the people of God, redeemed by Christ and rejoicing in his grace, shall no more talk of the deliverance out of Egypt by the hand of Moses, but shall speak only of the Lord Jesus our righteousness, who has delivered us from the wrath to come by his perfect life and precious blood. What is the deliverance from Egypt when compared to the effectual deliverance of Christ from the curse of the law?
'All hail the power of Jesus name,
let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.'