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In my personal devotion time with the Lord this morning, I came across a passage from Jeremiah 3:15 which says, “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” This is a great passage for me, and for you as well, because it is a promise that brings tremendous hope and encouragement for the future. I know that many have searched for a place to call home, and many here at The Bridge come from church backgrounds and religious traditions that have left them disillusioned about the future and the possibility of actually having a family in Christ. Take courage, friends! God has promised to be with you, and to provide Shepherds for you after His own heart.
Allow me to expand on this promise for a moment.
I think I’ll save the previous questions for another post for another day. I think that the encouraging word that we can draw from this portion of the text is that God promises to give godly shepherds who are men after God’s own heart. I know that God has demonstrated Himself faithful in this regard. All throughout history the shadows of deception have threatened to plunge humanity into a dark age where there would be no understanding of God, yet God has always preserved a spokesman to speak to His people on His behalf. ALWAYS! So we can trust that if He did it once in the past, He will do it again in the future. He has, and He will! From my own personal experience, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen the leadership from one church stray from God’s heart and suddenly another is lifted up to a position to speak truth to God’s people. God always begins a slow and tedious process (slow and tedious to us because it usually takes four or five years at a minimum, but five years is nothing from God’s perspective of eternity) of removing the offending shepherd and raising up a new shepherd in his place. So if you find yourself in a church where it is apparent that the leadership has strayed from God’s heart, then take courage in the promise of God to provide a shepherd after His own heart and start searching for a man who follows God’s heart. He’s out there! And if you haven’t found him yet, then be patient because God will keep His promise.
**For me, this is a special moment of introspection. Am I a man after God’s own heart? I hope and pray that this is the case. As Paul says, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted.” (1 Corinthians 4:4) Likewise, I am not aware of anything against myself. But what should I do if the day comes that I fall before the Lord in failure? What should I do if, after preaching to others, I myself become disqualified? (1 Corinthians 9:27) I have watched so many pastors, deceived by the allure of sin, insist in the middle of significant moral failure that they still deserve to shepherd God’s people. They have clearly fallen from the Heart of God, and they now insist on continuing in a position of leadership. These men only further compound the problem. The church is always harmed, and the advance of the gospel is always slowed down in such situations. Here’s what I’ve decided to do if I am ever caught in moral failure and it is necessary that I must resign my position (I pray that I will follow through with this plan if that day, God forbid, should ever come.): I will use what standing I have left to guide the church towards the shepherd that God has promised to raise up, the shepherd that is a man after God’s own heart. If I sense that God has departed from me and has chosen to raise up a new leader, I want to get on board with God’s plan. I don’t want to be consumed with murderous rage like King Saul. I hope that I will have the heart to trust in the promise of God which is to give a shepherd after His own heart. I pray that I will have the heart to believe this promise and to obey this promise by guiding others towards the shepherd that God lifts up. It is this desire that actually prompted me to put my morning devotion into writing via this blog post, because I would like others to be able to use this blog posting as a tool of reasoning with me should the day, God forbid, ever come that I need to step down. If I fall from being a good pastor, a shepherd after God’s own heart, then may I have grace enough to guide others towards the promised shepherd who will replace me. When you, the members of Bridge Church, pray for me, please pray that I will always strive to be a man after God’s heart, and pray that I will always have the grace to step aside, should the day come, but still use my God-given intellect and knowledge of scripture to guide us toward the promised Shepherd. This is what I want you to pray for me for.