Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NRSV)
Chapter 23Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Verse 2Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Verse 3Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. Verse 4I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. Verse 5The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. Verse 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."
God’s Word through Jeremiah speaks to the failures of Judah’s Kings. In spite of the failed leadership, Jeremiah brings to the people a word of hope. Jeremiah talks of a hope that does not sidestep disaster but a hope that looks beyond the disaster. How often as people of God’s church, are we called to bring a word of hope beyond a disaster? A fourteen-year-old girl is just diagnosed with cancer. A spouse is grieving a loved one’s death. A grandson is killed in a car accident. Can we look to our God in Jesus and to the power of the Spirit who loves us, forgives us, and promises us new life, and receive a word of hope? Jeremiah calls us to hear God’s promise and to continue to hope even in the face of our afflictions.
Lord God of Hope, our world is filled with pain. Help us to keep our focus on your promises. May we rest in your never-ending gift of grace. In Jesus Christ our Hope we pray, Amen.