A WORD TO THE LEADERS
Date: August 18
"For the shepherds [of the people] have become like brutes, irrational and stupid, and have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him or required Him [by necessity and by right of His word]. Therefore they have not dealt prudently and have not prospered, and all their flocks are scattered."
This is a word of the Lord to the shepherds of the people, meaning the leaders of Israel. When you look at the history of Israel, you will find several sad stories. There were many times that Israel turned away from the Lord, and as a result, God punished them. God punished them so severely that He sent them to exile. First the northern kingdom was taken down because of their disobedience. Then the southern kingdom was taken down for the same reason.
Here in Jeremiah 10:21, we read a word that God is addressing to the shepherds of the people about why their flocks became scattered. The beginning of verse 21 says, "For the shepherds [of the people] have become like brutes, irrational and stupid…" They became irrational and stupid because they have not sought the Lord. The word, ‘seek' in Hebrew is ‘darash,' which means to exert energy. That's how we should be seeking after God. We should seek after God by necessity and by right of His Word. In other words, we should make God the priority of our lives. But here we can see that Israel did not seek the Lord and as a result they received some negative consequences in their lives.
One of those consequences is that they did not deal prudently. So because the Israelites did not seek the Lord, they didn't have the basis to act wisely in a way that would help them be successful in life. The basis of prudent action is the Word of God. In order to act prudently, we need to read the Word. Through His Word, God gives us creative ideas and prudent actions that He wants us to take.
Once we read the Word of God and learn how to act prudently, then those prudent actions will result in prosperity. Here we read that the Israelites did not seek God and act prudently so as a result they did not prosper. But if we act prudently, then that action will cause us to prosper in whatever we do. It all goes back to reading God's Word and seeking after the Lord. Within God's Word is His will for our lives. When we live our lives according to His will, then we will prosper. For example it says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome." That's God's purpose for our lives.
So because the Israelite leaders did not seek the Lord, they didn't know how to act prudently. Because they didn't act prudently, they did not prosper. Instead, their flocks were scattered and they, as a nation, were destroyed. But we can learn from this sad example of Israel. We can learn that we should always seek the Lord. We should always read His Word and learn what prudent actions He wants us to take. Then we should do those actions. Once we do, then we will prosper.
So maybe I can ask you today, are you prospering in your life? If you are not, then it's a good sign that you're probably not acting prudently. If you're not acting prudently, then it's likely because you're not seeking the Lord, as you should be. So today, let's take this verse to heart. Let's seek after the Lord with all our hearts and let's act prudently in our lives. When we do that, then we will prosper and our flocks will not be scattered!