“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:1, 11 NIV)
There is so much that can be said about this entire chapter of Jeremiah–if I spent time expounding on each verse, it would take me over a month to complete it. But when I woke up this morning before 6:00 a.m., these are the verses of scripture that were playing over and over in my head and in particular, verse one.
Though many would attempt to deny that what was said to the prophet Jeremiah applies to us today, they would be wrong. Since some of those same folks constantly reference Jeremiah 29:11 (including me), we must understand that we cannot selectively determine which passages are applicable whenever it’s convenient. ALL SCRIPTURE is there for our learning, good for reproof, and direction, if we would just seek God for understanding.
Yesterday, my husband and I witnessed (in a video) a pastor pouring bleach, water and detergent over the heads of people–“washing away their sins.” How abominably ignorant of him and his followers to risk physical injury to eyes, ears, or other regions of their bodies. We are cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ–shed on the Cross–and nothing that man can do will ever wash away our sins.
In a number of churches, the church leaders are gay and promoting a lifestyle that is opposition to living according to the Word. In one such church, the pastor is a woman and her wife is the first lady. I’m praying for them to see the need for repentance and to stop misleading God’s flock. And herein lies the problem–many church leaders see their congregation as their flock, not God’s.
When people are not aware of their responsibility as a church leader or are just interested in the position as a status symbol, they veer away from the Word in order to make themselves special. They are special alright–in need of special prayer.
If God has ordained and anointed a person for leadership in a church–the development of the church is dependent upon God, not them. They should be in constant prayer, ready to hear God speak and ready to obey what He says. The people who come into the church do not belong to the pastor or church leader–they belong to God. When we abuse or misuse that which does not belong to us there is a penalty to pay and in this passage of Scripture (read all of it), we see God is not playing around with His proclamation against those who mislead His children.
In fact, most of the churches or religious institutions do not exist because God ordained them–they are cults, established by narcissistic persons who have a need to seen and thought important. They are encouraged in their own eyes by their ability to influence people into doing foolish things–we’ve seen the evidence in Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and in other places–where people died led by those narcissists. Jim Jones, David Koresh, and so many more. There are other cults around that have not reached notoriety as yet, but I’m sure we’ll see them soon.
How do we know a religious groups is a cult? They are easily identifiable; they esteem themselves more highly than the Word of God and in many cases, they go beyond the Word in their interpretation and begin to think they are equal to God. Whenever a person thinks they are a god, there is a problem. Whenever a person thinks they can foretell the date and hour of Jesus’ return, there is a problem. Whenever a person encourages and promotes living in opposition to God’s Word, there is a problem. God has already prepared their final dwelling for all eternity–the lake of fire, if they do not repent.
I’m sure there will be some who think I’m bashing preachers, but I’m not. I’m warning church leaders–everywhere–do not forget that God is the same–yesterday, today and forever. His purposes and intent for mankind have not changed, and when anyone changes what God has said for their own purposes–to mislead and encourage living in sin, they are going to judged by God, not me–for misleading God’s flock.