08/17/16 Distorting the Message

READING: Jeremiah 23-25

Leadership matters — and God holds leaders accountable for the way they lead His people. His words against the leaders in Jeremiah’s day — the kings, the prophets, and the priests — were undeniably clear. In particular, the “shepherds” (likely, both civil and religious leaders) had not taken care of His sheep, and God said to them: “I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done” (Jer 23: 2). 

A review of the actions that brought God’s judgment on them is both enlightening and frightening — enlightening because it describes the actions of the bad leaders, and frightening because it also describes the actions of some spiritual leaders today:

  • Rather than caring for the sheep, they were scattering them (Jer 23:1).
  • They were godless, living in sin; they were living a lie (Jer 23:11, 14).
  • They spoke visions “from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jer 23:16).
  • They proclaimed a message, but without standing in the council of the Lord and listening to His Word (Jer 23:18).
  • They prophesied the “delusions of their own minds” (Jer 23:26).
  • Even the messages they spoke, they often stole from one another (Jer 23:30).
  • They distorted the words of the living God (Jer 23:36).

Given God’s history with His people, you would think the leaders would know better than to create their own message. Apparently, though, it’s sometimes easy to speak what you want to speak, claim it to be the Word of God, and find willing listeners — especially when what you speak is what the listeners want to hear.  

That’s one reason all of our pastors need our daily prayers. None of us is immune from the possibility of distorting the message of God.  


  • Like yesterday, pray again for pastors you know. Pray they will always speak truth, regardless of what listeners may want to hear. 
  • Thank God for pastors in your life who have spoken God’s message to you without compromise.                        

PRAYER: “Lord, thank You for leaders who never deny Your Word. Help all leaders, beginning with me, always to speak Your message — not our message.”      

TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 26-28