"In past generations he allowed the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."
Is there anything I take for granted or assume to just be a part of life, that is, in fact, a witness to and for God? In this verse, rain and crops are a witness of his kindness. Matthew 5:45 says "He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Psalms 19:1-2 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." God has provided ample evidence of His existence and kindness toward His creation. Our ignorance and forgetfulness are not from a lack of testimony of God's graciousness but rather man's disregard of His constant blessing. In Romans 1:18-21, Paul says our wickedness is the root problem that causes us to suppress the daily evidence of God's existence and goodness. Even with all the testimony of His kindness, man still refuses to acknowledge Him or give Him praise and thanksgiving for all He provides. Man is without excuse because God continually displays His divine nature and power.
LORD God, thank you for the blessings of life that I take for granted. Please forgive me for missing the everyday gifts from your hand. I honor You with my life and thank You with my mouth.
In Jeremiah 23:2, God confronts those shepherds who have not taken care of His flock. He tells them, you have not "attended" to my sheep, now I will "attend" to you. That is definitely not a position in which I would want to be.
In verse 17, these shepherds are telling the people everything is going to be okay. Nothing bad is going to happen. They are saying this to people who despise God's Word and stubbornly do what they want rather than what God instructs. Years ago, Carol attended a conference where a Christian counselor made the statement "Don't worry about sin. Quit thinking of sin." This passage reminded me of our discussion of what was so wrong with that attitude. Sin, rebellion against God, is important to Him and should be important to us.
In Mark 9:42 Jesus says, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." What I do or say should never lead or encourage others to sin.
Do you consider yourself a shepherd? For years I thought of preachers, elders, and teachers as shepherds but not myself. But just as sheep follow the shepherd, we all have others who follow our example.
Father, I desire to be a shepherd worthy of Your calling. Please encourage me by Your faithfulness to be a faithful example to those who follow me. May I faithfully lead those you have placed in my care. You know all my weaknesses, doubts, and fears. Please show me any area of my life that would lead others to sin. I never want to be guilty of leading anyone away from You or Your Word.