Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for July 9

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for July 9


Jeremiah 23:1–12

Jeremiah accused the religious leaders of failing to shepherd God’s people. Their failed leadership led to the Babylonian exile.

The prophet predicted coming days when God would raise up a righteous descendant of David whose reign would be characterized by justice and righteousness.

New shepherds (1–4)

Jeremiah most likely belonged to the upper echelon of society. He was both a priest and a prophet. As a prophet, he pronounced a woe to the religious shepherds, including the priests, who destroyed and scattered the sheep.

The people of God had experienced a period of reform and revival as young king Josiah followed the Lord and tore down the pagan worship centers (2 Chron. 34:1–7).

During Josiah’s reign, the Book of the Law — perhaps Deuteronomy — was discovered by Hilkiah the priest during temple repairs.

The king publicly repented and became known as one of Judah’s greatest rulers. Unfortunately, the king’s descendants did not exhibit Josiah’s faithfulness.

God promised judgment on the religious leaders because of their neglect of God’s people. The leaders destroyed, scattered and banished the flock of God.

God promised to gather His people and raise up faithful shepherds to tend His flock — shepherd leaders who would not be afraid, discouraged or missing in action.

Jesus offered Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11–18), thus fulfilling this prophecy. God promised to regather His scattered flock from all other lands.

Righteous Branch (5–8)

Because of the failure of the human kings of the Davidic dynasty, God promised to raise up a righteous Branch from the line of David whose reign would be the opposite of the Davidic kings of Jeremiah’s day.

Rather than leading the people astray, the coming King would be righteous and wise and would fairly administer righteousness.

He would be known by the title “The Lord is Our Righteousness,” the One who would adhere to God’s standard and be the source of righteousness for His people.

The righteous descendant of David was Jesus, who would lead another exodus from the slavery of sin and death to freedom and life. As the prophesied descendant of David, He would administer justice and righteousness.

He would lead God’s people to a greater liberation than Moses’ leadership in freeing the people from Egyptian bondage.

The righteous Branch would provide believers with a righteous standing before God.

Impending disaster (9–12)

Jeremiah was not dispassionate. The message God asked him to deliver affected him emotionally and physically.

People do not rise above their leadership. This is a truism whether the leader is a political or religious leader.

The message and lifestyle of the prophets of Judah led to physical and spiritual repercussions for the people.

Jeremiah expressed the effect the rejection of his message had on him physically and emotionally. God’s people were guilty of spiritual adultery. The way of life of God’s people was evil, and the leaders had misused their power.

By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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