Jeremiah 13:20
Lift up your eyes and see those coming from the north. Where is the flock entrusted to you, the sheep that were your pride?
A Question for Parents and PastorsJ. Parker, D. D.Jeremiah 13:20
A Searching Question to the ShepherdD. Young Jeremiah 13:20
Christian ResponsibilityPlain Sermons by Contributors to the, Tracts for the TimesJeremiah 13:20
God's Claim on ParentsA. Davies.Jeremiah 13:20
The Neglected Trust DemandedS. Conway Jeremiah 13:20
Where are YouW. H. Ridley, M. A.Jeremiah 13:20

Where is the flock that was given thee, etc.? This word is addressed to the rulers of Judah and Jerusalem. Their people, the nation over whom they ruled, were God's flock, his "beautiful flock." That flock had been entrusted to the rulers' care. The influence of those in power was very great. As were the leaders of the people - especially the king - so were the people themselves. They could be led like a flock, and were so. Tremendous, therefore, was the responsibility of those in power, to whom was entrusted this flock of the Lord. But they had used their great authority and power badly. Ruin had come or was about to come upon the flock (cf. Vers. 18, 19); they were to be scattered, scattered wholly, and the greater portion of them lost. To these careless and guilty shepherds the Lord now comes, and asks for the flock he had placed in their hands. "Give an account of thy stewardship," was said to those who were to be no longer stewards because of their faithlessness. Now, this question, "Where is the flock," etc.? is one which should be often heard sounding in the ears of many others besides those to Whom it was first addressed, e.g. -

I. TO THE PASTORS OF THE CHURCH. The Church of God is his flock, his "beautiful flock." Its members are very dear to him, "purchased with his own blood." The Church is given, entrusted, to pastors. When Christ ascended up on high he gave some "pastors." This method of ordering his Church is the one he has willed. His blessing has evidently rested on it. What does not the Church of God owe to her faithful pastors? But whatever their character they cannot but have great influence. They are trusted by the people. They have received special gifts for their work in the form of mental and moral endowments. They are much prayed for. They are specially set apart for the charge of the Church of God. They have every inducement to fidelity. Faithful, the love of their charge will gather round them; the fear of God will dwell within them; the crown of life awaits them. And these mighty motives, acting upon hearts already prepared by God's grace and devoted to this high office, have for the most part secured a great degree of fidelity in it. Hence a character and reputation have become associated with the office, which cannot but invest with much influence, as it does with much responsibility, all those who occupy it. But in spite of all this there may be, as there has been at times, great unfaithfulness. Hence the flock has been scattered. The Church has suffered in numbers, in purity of doctrine, in consistency of life, in spirituality of character. Its enjoyment in all holy service goes; its power for good in the neighborhood where it dwells goes; its regard for all that marks vigorous life in a Church all goes; and ere long its "candlestick is removed out of its place." Perhaps its numbers may not greatly diminish. There shall be the observance of the sabbath, its services, its sermons, its sacraments - orderly, Pedlar, frequent. Many things may conduce to this. Its name may live, but it is dead. Oh, the awfulness of this! And if it have been through the negligence and unfaithfulness of the pastor, who shall deliver him from the charge of blood-guiltiness which will lie at his door? What will he answer when the question is addressed to him, as one day it surely will be, "Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" Let every pastor of Christ's Church consider this and pray -

"Chief Shepherd of thy chosen sheep,
From death and sin set free,
Let every under-shepherd keep
His eye intent on thee."

II. TO ALL PARENTS. Our children are the Lord's flock, his "beautiful flock." They are very dear to him. He puts his arm round every one of them; he takes them all up in his arms and blesses them. He declares by his Word and by their baptism that they are of his kingdom, and he both promises vast reward to those that receive them in his Name, and threatens with dreadful doom all those who "offend" them. But parents have unspeakable influence over them. They mould and fashion them, not in outward form and habits alone, but in inward character. For a long time they are as God to their children, who know no higher authority, no higher help. Hence they trust their parents utterly. And to guard against the abuse of this tremendous trust, God has implanted the instincts of parental love, and given every motive to parents to guard and keep well those he has entrusted to their care. Now, if through parental unfaithfulness those children become renegades from God, he will surely ask this question, "Where is the flock," etc.? Let remembrance of this lead to earnest prayer and diligent heed so that each parent at last may have the unspeakable joy - as he may have - of standing at last before God, and saying, with glad thankfulness, "Behold, here am I, and the children, thou hast given me."

III. TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL SOUL. For the sum of all the faculties, opportunities, talents, the whole of the varied gifts and capacities which together form our spiritual nature - judgment, affection, conscience, intellect, will, - all these are the flock of God which is entrusted to every individual man; and by due care and cultivation of them he can preserve and develop them into an offering of worship and consecration which God will ever accept and bless. Every man has the making of his own life by the help of God. There is scarce any degree of honor and joy which he may not win by faithfulness in the use of that which God has entrusted to him. Concerning them all God says, "Occupy till I come." And how vast and varied is the help God gives to us in this great work! What means of grace are provided! What recompense even here and now is given! Victory over self; a mind at peace; blessed influence over others; the love and esteem of the good; free communion and intercourse with God himself; the consciousness of the Divine love; the bright and blessed hope of the eternal life hereafter. So that even now "in keeping of God's commandments there is great reward." But if we be unfaithful here and waste all our goods - these high gifts, faculties, and opportunities - sowing to the flesh when we should be sowing to the Spirit, then this question will be heard concerning all these things, "Where is the flock," etc.? And then we search in vain for any answer to the next question (Ver. 21), "What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee?" Therefore let us each keep continually before our minds such truths as those that are taught in the well-known hymn -

"A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save
And fit it for the sky.

"Help me to watch and pray,
And on thyself rely;
Assured if I my trust betray
I shall forever die." C.

Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?
Here is a flock that is being inquired about, not a flock only, but a beautiful flock.

1. The question comes into our family life, and asks us where all the children are, those lovely children, that banished the silence of the house and made it ring with music. They were fair, they were charming, they were affectionate; what a sweet, merry little fellowship they made! — where are they? Have they been spoiled into evil, flattered into self-idolatry, neglected into atheism? Have they been over-instructed, over-disciplined, wholly overborne, so that the will has not been only broken but shattered? He is no shepherd, but a tyrant, who does not cooperate with his children, lure them, fascinate them, and give them sacred instruction without appearing to do so, and who when offering religious privileges offers them as if offering coronation, yea, and all heaven.

2. The question enters also into our Church life, saying to every pastor, "Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" — not large, perhaps, but so expectant, so sympathetic, so cooperative. What the flock wants is pastoral preaching. The difficulty is to overcome the temptation to preach to somebody who is not there. The preacher must always know himself to be set for the healing and nurture of men. In every congregation there am the broken-hearted, those who are shattered in fortune, feeble in health, spiritually-minded; women who have great home cares; souls that cannot thrive on criticism; lives that need all nourishment and comfort and loving sympathy.

(J. Parker, D. D.)


1. It is not yours in proprietorship, only in charge. Children are peculiarly and specially God's. Authority over them is God's gift to parents but He has a claim prior to yours. He continues His work of creation in every child born. Its existence is wonderful. Much more so its capacities — physical, mental, social, spiritual.

2. Christ highly estimates the flock. Christian hospitality to a child is homage to God.


1. They have to impart religious ideas. At home the first principles are instilled: indeed, the child's mind is there made acquainted with the germ of all truth — sin, forgiveness, righteousness, salvation, love human and Divine: all the ideas involved in religion.

2. Parents represent to their children the character of the Invisible God. The Gospel is a declaration of the paternal love.

3. The inquiry for the flock will be addressed to parents.

III. THE WAY IN WHICH THIS RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD BE MET. If you would prepare to answer joyfully this question, set it before you as —

1. A distinct purpose. The wish for your children's salvation is not enough. Register a purpose in the sight of God.

2. Intense devotion is necessary. To have converting power over your own children you must love their souls, and hold them fast for God.

(A. Davies.)

? — What a question this for ministers and for people! For ministers. Where are the few sheep whom He has put under our care? What have we done for them? And for the flock likewise, God's people and children. What a question for them! Where are you?

I. You are GOD'S FLOCK. "The people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand." He acknowledges you as His sheep, and like the Good Shepherd, He knows you every one. He looks at you as you are, and thinks of the difference between one and another.

II. His flock is "BEAUTIFUL."

1. For what He has made them. Look how beautiful He has made us all in body, mind, and soul.

2. Because of what they are capable of. Look at the wonderful things which man has been enabled to do, and then think what more God may intend him to do. Look at him sailing over the sea, and travelling over land by means of fire and water! And then think what may not man's mind and body be capable of doing. But look at man sanctified by the Holy Ghost, his soul filled with grace, and bringing forth fruits of righteousness. How beautiful is a Christian, when he is gentle, forgiving, loving, forgetting himself, and seeking to help others, bearing trials without murmurs, and rejoicing even in sorrow!

3. Because of what they are intended for. You, poor creatures that you are, disappointed and disappointing yourselves so constantly, promising yourselves so much and performing so little — God intends you to be lights in this world, to show the way to those around you, and to be His companions in heaven.

III. "WHERE ARE YOU?" "Where am I?"

1. We are here, whilst so many others have been called away.

2. Judge yourselves where you are in spiritual things.(1) To this end review your opportunities, and see what they have done for you, where they have left you. They are like the wind or steam to a ship, like the carriage or train to the traveller; they are. intended to help you on your way, and you ought to find yourself nearer home since you have had the use of them.(2) Judge yourselves about open, plain public sins. What have there been of these in the year? drunkenness, swearing, thieving, cheating, lying, uncleanness, wasting Sunday, slandering your neighbour. Have you done such things as these?(3) Judge yourselves whether you are more in earnest about religion than you were. Are you ever anxious about yourself? Are you taking any pains?

(W. H. Ridley, M. A.)

Plain Sermons by Contributors to the, Tracts for the Times.
To the minister of Christ, when looking back on the irremediable past, and forward on the dim future, the thought must naturally arise, — How much have we to answer for, and what answer shall we make? But let all seriously minded Christians consider how great is the responsibility of us all, with respect to children and young persons, that they be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Everyone knows that example is more forcible than precept, and especially evil example than good precept. When grown-up persons then, whether parents or others, use themselves to violent and intemperate language, swearing, or indecent expressions, or slander, it is as if they took pains to instruct children in the language of lost spirits. Or, to glance at another case; many there are who, while they preserve a decent exterior of conduct, yet leave their children, or other young persons for whom they are in any manner responsible, to shift for themselves; I mean in religious matters, take no personal care or trouble to give them an education substantially Christian. But I ask, Is not that which is true and good for the parent, true and good for the child? Must not fathers and mothers be answerable for the bringing up of their little flock, the children whom God has given them, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? And can this be true Christian nurture and admonition, to habituate them to those unfixed and unprincipled notions and ways in the great matter of Divine worship, and communion with Christ's Church here militant, but in heaven triumphant? This responsibility lies on us all — all grown-up persons — all have an influence either for good or evil on the younger; and happy will they be, who shall be found to have exerted this influence to the honour of our Almighty Lord and Master, and the edification of that flock which He purchased with His own blood. Such persons, if parents, have made it a principal matter of their thoughts and cares that their children should be also God's children.

(Plain Sermons by Contributors to the "Tracts for the Times.)

Euphrates River, Jerusalem, Negeb
Beautiful, Behold, Boasted, Drove, Entrusted, Flock, Jerusalem, Lift, Lifted, North, O, Sheep
1. By the type of a linen belt, hidden at Euphrates,
9. God prefigures the destruction of his people.
12. By the parable of bottles filled with wine he foretells their drunkenness in misery.
15. He exhorts to prevent their future judgments.
22. He shows their abominations are the cause thereof.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Jeremiah 13:19

     7217   exile, in Babylon

An Impossibility Made Possible
'Can the Ethiopian change his skin?'--JER. xiii. 23. 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.'--2 COR. v. 17. 'Behold, I make all things new.'--REV. xxi. 5. Put these three texts together. The first is a despairing question to which experience gives only too sad and decisive a negative answer. It is the answer of many people who tell us that character must be eternal, and of many a baffled man who says, 'It is of no use--I have tried and can do nothing.' The second text is the grand Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Notion of Inability.
PROPER METHOD OF ACCOUNTING FOR IT. I have represented ability, or the freedom of the will, as a first-truth of consciousness, a truth necessarily known to all moral agents. The inquiry may naturally arise, How then is it to be accounted for, that so many men have denied the liberty of the will, or ability to obey God? A recent writer thinks this denial a sufficient refutation of the affirmation, that ability is a first-truth of consciousness. It is important that this denial should be accounted
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

On Earthly Things
The earth is man himself; in the gospel: another has fallen into the good earth. The same in a bad part about the sinner: you devour the earth all the days of your life. [Mark 4:18; Genesis 3:14] The dry lands are the flesh of a fruitless man; in Ecclesiastes, to work in a dry land with evil and sorrow. [Ecclesiastes 37:3] The dust is a sinner or the vanity of the flesh; in the psalm: like the dust, which the wind blows about. [Ps. 1:4 Vulgate] The mud is the gluttony of sinners; in the psalm: tear
St. Eucherius of Lyons—The Formulae of St. Eucherius of Lyons

The Cavils of the Pharisees Concerning Purification, and the Teaching of the Lord Concerning Purity - the Traditions Concerning Hand-Washing' and Vows. '
As we follow the narrative, confirmatory evidence of what had preceded springs up at almost every step. It is quite in accordance with the abrupt departure of Jesus from Capernaum, and its motives, that when, so far from finding rest and privacy at Bethsaida (east of the Jordan), a greater multitude than ever had there gathered around Him, which would fain have proclaimed Him King, He resolved on immediate return to the western shore, with the view of seeking a quieter retreat, even though it were
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

On the Animals
The birds are the saints, because they fly to the higher heart; in the gospel: and he made great branches that the birds of the air might live in their shade. [Mark 4:32] Flying is the death of the saints in God or the knowledge of the Scriptures; in the psalm: I shall fly and I shall be at rest. [Ps. 54(55):7 Vulgate] The wings are the two testaments; in Ezekiel: your body will fly with two wings of its own. [Ez. 1:23] The feathers are the Scriptures; in the psalm: the wings of the silver dove.
St. Eucherius of Lyons—The Formulae of St. Eucherius of Lyons

Covenanting Confers Obligation.
As it has been shown that all duty, and that alone, ought to be vowed to God in covenant, it is manifest that what is lawfully engaged to in swearing by the name of God is enjoined in the moral law, and, because of the authority of that law, ought to be performed as a duty. But it is now to be proved that what is promised to God by vow or oath, ought to be performed also because of the act of Covenanting. The performance of that exercise is commanded, and the same law which enjoins that the duties
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep Back a Sinner from the Practice of Piety.
Those hindrances are chiefly seven:-- I. An ignorant mistaking of the true meaning of certain places of the holy Scriptures, and some other chief grounds of Christian religion. The Scriptures mistaken are these: 1. Ezek. xxxiii. 14, 16, "At what time soever a sinner repenteth him of his sin, I will blot out all," &c. Hence the carnal Christian gathers, that he may repent when he will. It is true, whensoever a sinner does repent, God will forgive; but the text saith not, that a sinner may repent whensoever
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The interest of the book of Jeremiah is unique. On the one hand, it is our most reliable and elaborate source for the long period of history which it covers; on the other, it presents us with prophecy in its most intensely human phase, manifesting itself through a strangely attractive personality that was subject to like doubts and passions with ourselves. At his call, in 626 B.C., he was young and inexperienced, i. 6, so that he cannot have been born earlier than 650. The political and religious
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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