This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth.” At that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere—from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground. Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall like the best of the rams. The shepherds will have nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape. Hear the cry of the shepherds, the wailing of the leaders of the flock, for the Lord is destroying their pasture. The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the Lord . Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the Lord ’s fierce anger. – Jeremiah 25:32-38
This passage is another rebuke for the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. Calamity is coming to those who are leading people astray and spreading ungodliness. God has harsh words for the wayward leaders. They will be “like dung lying on the ground”. I don’t know about you but I would be rather upset if someone referred to me as dung. As we will see in the passages to come they do get upset and take their wrath out on Jeremiah for bringing this message to them from God.
These “shepherds” who are supposed to be tending God’s flock of followers are going to weep and wail at the consequences of their misdirection, but they will have no place to go because they have rejected their refuge. They have “nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape.” They are headed down a dead end road with no future. Their only hope will be to turn around and head back to the One River that provides living water and lasting peace like a river. The sooner they figure this out the better.
God is destroying the pasture of these stiff-necked shepherds. The place that they thought they were using to tend and raise their flock will in fact be made into a wasteland, “The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the Lord.” God is angry and He is showing the people of Judah and Jerusalem that He meant what He said when He asked them to obey His commandments and follow Him. I must admit this is a very different view of God than the Jesus of the new testament.
God here is very much the Lion, “Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate”. The chosen instrument is the oppressors from the north that God allows to inflict judgment on the people, but the anger is the Lord’s. God is a patient God to a point, but I think He has reached a point here where He is saying to the people that they can have what they have been asking for all along – to be free of God. They just do not realize how bleak this is when the reality comes.
Prayer: God help all those who are called to shepherd Your flock to realize when they are leading others down a dead end.