The response in faithⅠ The One who pays attention toJeremiah 23:1-8
21:1 to 23:8 are the messages to the kings of Judah, and the very strict word has been posed to the three kings, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin; and it has been sentenced, "this house (royal family) will become a desolation." (22:5). However because it has been told many times until now, let's take up 23:1-8 which can be said as its conclusion this morning. It was a times of Zedekiah. In contrast of that the name of the kings of the other are arranged carefully, but his name remains was withheld. In this article, it seems that Jeremiah and Baruch try a special handling against Zedekiah.
"'Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!' declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: 'You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,' declares the Lord." (1-2) It is believed, "shepherds" (plural) has summed up the kings of the above; but probably, it would have been directed to the leaders of Zedekiah era. "You have not attended" is a meaning of "You did not pay attention". Iwanami Version translated it, as "You have not attended" "I am about to attend to you"; because the same word is using in the original text (Masoretic text). In the original language, it is a good place to look "You did not pay attention" and "I paid attention"; and it seems to say "people did not pay attention to hear the words of God" rather than the fact of administration which is not to be perfect. "To hear the word of God", it was an important mission than anything of the shepherds. God says the people will be scattered, because they abandoned that mission. Anger of God to Zedekiah king and leaders seemed to blow up. The description including Chapter 37-39 becomes in confusion, and the order of Jeremiah is confused; so, it will not come emerged when we read them in order of Jeremiah Chapter 23; however, I think that you will be able to understand its neighborhood, because we already took up Zedekiah king and a main battle group until Chapter 39.
I want to talk assuming it; if we hear here "I paid attention", it will be possible to hear that "God does that leaders were not able to do it". It does not end in judgement. The judgment of God, it has a continuance there. Word of severe judgment will change to hope.
Ⅱ The Lord is our righteousness
"Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply." (3) There is it, "the remnant (people)"; but this does not point out only people who did not meet the hardship of captivity. It refers to all the people who had been captivity in BC 597, in BC 586, it was the time that Zedekiah king had caught, and in BC 584; all people who come back from the dispersed place are the object. However, it is not only that, but it also refers to the people who will survive through hardship still more; and it is called "the remnant". This expression became an important keyword which refers to people who participate in the salvation of God. A judgement of God becomes the premise there. Through the judgement, people who is invited to "the Pasture = the country of God", they are the remnant (people); those people is never much, but people who believe in Jesus is counted there also.
"'They will not be afraid any longer. nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,' declares the Lord. 'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, "The Lord our righteousness."'" (4-6) Why is Verse 4 the multiple "shepherds"? Because the shepherds who led the people in the wrong direction have been told in Verse 1-2; it might be a contrast of that. It would be good to think those are the missionaries who lead people to the country of God. At its center, a new ruler (singular) seems to be considered. It has been condensed to descendants of David, to "a righteous Branch".If I say plainly, this is Messiah prophecy, and it points to Jesus. And, it is the center subject of Verse 5-6. The name of king which called "the Lord is our righteousness", it was the meaning of the name of Zedekiah, saying "Yahweh is righteousness". However, Zedekiah was with a weak mind, and thought about safety of his own always, and abandoned the responsibility to reign Judah as king; he was not the king called "righteousness", even as a compliment. And, he became the last king of David dynasty. Shallum (Jehoahaz), Jehoiakim, Coniah (Jehoiakin), the names of kings are listed in Chapter 22, but only the name of Zedekiah is omitted; this message is telling that its mandate will be carried over to the new king. It says that a new king will use justice and righteousness, but Zedekiah and the kings listed did not have those. It is said, "In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell securely". Here, integration of Israel and Judah have been told. Probably, I think, Jeremiah would have told it according to traditional covenant theology of Israel; but, should we not hear that new Israel is talking about here?
Ⅲ The response in faith
Now, we would like to think a little more about a new king called that "the Lord is our righteousness". Name of Zedekiah was given by Nebuchadnezzar. His original name is Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:17), but Nebuchadnezzar might have hoped that the era of Zedekiah stands as justice of the king of Babylon. However, it did not be so. The dynasty of David and Judah were thoroughly trampled, and have been ruined. To the history of Israel, period was struck. Since then, the return from Babylon, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the temple reconstruction were done, and Hasumon dynasty was established; and it looks like Israel have survived really, but we'll see there only confusion and conflict. Before and after that Pirioddo, the salvation plan of God has been distinguished clearly. Messiah called "The Lord is our righteousness" was awaited, it may be said it came from the mess of the Pirioddo afterward. Expectations for the Lord, it was desired highly by Jeremiah and Baruch, but now, in this Pirioddo, it began the current Eagle finally. We must wait for several hundred years of the confusion still more until that expectation comes true. Though it was very slow reaction, but, "The Lord is our righteousness" that people has called in the hope, it was response to the call of the prophet Jeremiah. It would be good to say that it is their confession of faith. A desire of Christians who met Jesus Christ overlaps at there, too. Coincidentally, it surpassed much more the expectations of the Babylon king; the name that they called was to praise God. We seem to hear the praise of the army of the heaven which they sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased" (Luke 2:14).
That new song is repeated. "'Therefor behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when they will no longer say, "As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt," but, "As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them," Then they will live on their own soil.'" (7-8) "From Egypt", it was a past traditional faith of Israel and was theology. Law and rituals would be said to have been its center. In this times, it was in a situation that could not say "The Lord lives" anymore, by having taken in gods of gentiles; and, confession itself was lost. However, the kingdom of David which they clung came to the end, and Jerusalem Temple which was cornerstone of their faith was destroyed. New confession of faith an alternative to it, it will be born; but it was not able to do after immediately the return from Babylon; it was necessary of the time of long grope. Among the remaining people who came through that confusion and came through the times of the grope, messianism flares up. The preparation to Jesus birth begins. I pray that the faith which says "The Lord is our righteousness", it will be born among us!