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Monday, November 18, 2019

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As in many passages of scripture, God's people are referred to as a flock. I'm not very flattered to be referred to as sheep. I'm independent enough to feel I can usually manage on my own. But without help, a flock is easy prey. They easily become afraid and dismayed, scattered and lost. So when God gave authority to the shepherd-leaders, God expected them to care for and protect the sheep. Instead, they failed to protect and nourish the flock in their charge.

Now Jeremiah encourages God's people with the promise of God's intervention. There is hope. We are not just any sheep -- we are God's sheep! Our God will not forever endure poor stewardship or injustice against God's people. Woe to the bad leaders! God will "attend to" them. God knows we need help and will provide a new shepherd. Through this shepherd of promise God will bring justice, righteousness, and safety back to God's people -- and we will flourish under his care.

Gracious God, you see us in all our need — scattered, divided, and distraught. Come to our aid and provide us with a way to come together in peace based on justice for all. Through Christ Jesus, our righteousness, we pray. Amen.

Chris Cowan, '14
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Ogden, Iowa

Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NRSV)

1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.
2 Therefore 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.
3 Then 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.
4 I 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.
5 The 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.
6 In 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."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.