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    Upon the shepherds of national Israel rested tremendous responsibility in that the care of Jehovah's "sheep" was largely in their hands. The careful observer will soon detect a remarkable resemblance between the responsibilities of the shepherds, pastors, prophets and leaders of national Israel and the shepherds, pastors and overseers of the Lord's churches in this age. That the Israelites were God's special people, "the sheep of his pasture", in Old Testament days, is evident.
    Many of Israel's shepherds were unfaithful. They used their offices and influence for self-advancement. The weeping prophet cried out against the "pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep", (Jer. 23:1). Both prophet and priest had become profane. The Lord had discovered their wickedness in His own house. The northern prophets prophesied "in Baal" -- causing Israel to err. The Jerusalem prophets committed horrible sins. Adulterers and liars, they strengthened the hands of evildoers so that none saw any need to repent. Instead of declaring the WORD OF THE LORD, they supplanted the divine message by

the visions of their own wicked and perverted hearts. So terrible was their sin that they were unto the Lord as Sodom and Gomorrah -- both the prophets and the people whom they had led into sin.
    These wicked prophets would give assurance to the despisers of Jehovah, saying: "Ye shall have peace". To such as walked after the imaginations of their own hearts, they would promise: "No evil shall come upon you". Though, obviously, not sent by the Lord with such wicked words, "yet they ran". Though God did not speak to them, "Yet they prophesied".
    Concerning the opportunities of these unfaithful shepherds, God said, "But if they had STOOD IN MY COUNSEL, and had caused my people to hear MY WORDS, then they should have TURNED THEM from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings". Since they were NOT faithful in the exercise of their privileges, God declared: "Their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on AND FALL THEREIN ... Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall".
    In Jeremiah 50 God speaks of Israel's being a "scattered sheep", (vs. 17). In this sense, they were

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

"lost sheep" -- not in the sense that they were about to fall into hell, for He calls them "MY SHEEP". "MY people hath been lost sheep; their SHEPHERDS have CAUSED THEM TO GO ASTRAY, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have FORGOTTEN THEIR RESTINGPLACE", (Jer. 50:6; comp. 2 Pet. 1:9). Thus were the adversaries of Israel able to devour them, saying: "We offend not because THEY HAVE SINNED AGAINST THE LORD". But the hand of the Lord was swift to pour out vengeance against the proud ones who wrought evil against His elect. And because of that wrath Babylon was destined to be "who1ly desolate", (Jer. 50:13; comp. Matt. 23:30).
    At God's instruction Ezekiel declared a "WOE to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themse1ves!" It is a shepherd's role to "feed the flock". But they had not been faithful to their calling. "Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with

wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost: but with FORCE and with CRUELTY have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there IS NO SHEPHERD: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them," (Ezek. 34). The faithful Lord will require an accounting of such faithless shepherds, and He will deliver His flock from their hands and mouths.
    Jesus Christ came as the "Good Shepherd". A good shepherd will give his life for the sheep. Hirelings may desert the sheep when real trial or danger arises, but a GOOD SHEPHERD prepares a table for them in the very presence of their enemies. He who desires the office of a bishop (pastor, shepherd, overseer of God's flock) desires a good work. But it is vital that he be spiritually qualified for such solemn responsibility. He may, like many of the shepherds of Israel, be so lifted up with pride that he will fall into the condemnation, reproach and snare of the devil, (I Tim. 3:6-7). Far too often the Lord's sheep become the prey, not only of false teachers
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    Pastor Sam Arnold writes that the Corinth MBC, of Dry Prong, La., plans a Fellowship Meeting on March 28 (P.M.) through 30. He expressed a desire that the messages be centered around the theme of PRESENT SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS that may be enjoyed by the people of God.
    Such as find it possible to attend this meeting will experience some real "southern hospitality", and what ought to be a time of rich and blessed fellowship in Word and song.
    Corinth church is located on Highway 167 about 4 miles south of Bentley, Louisiana. May this be such a constructive, unifying and Christ-honoring meeting as will be a blessing to Corinth Church and strengthen the bonds of love among brethren scattered throughout the land!


    We rejoiced last week to hear that Robert Beale (our favorite son-in-law) had been named the "OUTSTANDING SENIOR" in the School of Aviation, at Western Michigan State University at Kalamazoo. With the honor he also received a $l75.00 award -- designed to reimburse some of the expense encountered in his school work.
    Our hearts always rejoice when one of the young people from our church excels in ANY worthwhile, undertaking. Bob and Ricky hope to return to Rockford following his graduation in the Spring, and expect the Lord to provide such

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employment opportunity as will make it possible. It will be good to have them back with us in the regular services of the church.


"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong", (Eccl. 9:11).

I saw them start, an eager throng,
    All young and strong and fleet;
Joy lighted up their beaming eyes,
    Hope sped their flying feet.
And one among them so excelled
    In courage, strength, and grace,
That all men gazed & smiled & cried:
    "The WINNER of the race!"

But, oh, what fo1ly! See, he stops
    To raise a fallen child,
To place it out of danger's way
    With kiss and warning mild.
A fainting comrade claims his care,
    Once more he turns aside;
Then stays his strong, young steps
      to be
    A feeble woman's guide.

The race is o'er. 'Midst shouts
      and cheers
    I saw the victors crowned;
Some wore fame's laurels, some
      love's flowers,
    Some brows with gold were bound.
But all unknown, unheeded, stood --
    Heaven's light upon his face --
With empty hands & uncrowned head,
-- Susan Marr Spaulding
"Truth, long heard but not acted upon, suggests terrible self-deception.

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SHEPHERDING ... Continued

from without, but also of unscrupulous, ambitious and designing leaders from within -- who are more concerned to "have their own way" than to "feed the f1ock" or faithfully serve and glorify their Lord.
    A faithful shepherd will usually have the love and respect of the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made him the overseer, (I Cor.4:2; I Thes. 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17; I Tim 5:17-18). He regards them as the Lord's "heritage" and lovingly sets an example that they can safely follow. And he is assured a
"crown of glory" at the appearing and kingdom of the Chief Shepherd, (I Pet. 5:l-4 Heb. 13:20-21).
     When strange forces of divisiveness and confusion are abroad in the land it is vitally important that the hearts of shepherd and sheep EVERYWHERE be united in a mutuality of love and respect, and in the fear of God -- remembering that outsiders sometimes "handle the Word of God deceitfully" in an effort to captivate innocent hearts for their own malicious purposes. And they sometimes force division beyond the rightful boundaries of their "calling". E.G.


Twixt God & brother man I stand;
Each one awaits my out-stretched
My Lord has wealth all want to feed;
My brother, only dying need.
If unto each a hand I give,
The One can love, the other live.
And I the joy of both may know
For each to each through me shall
If, selfish, I my hand refuse,
Then each one shall the other lose.
While I lose both -- and my poor
Be parched for streams they could
Lord, take my hand, & make me e'er
A channel, NOT a barrier.
-- Author Unknown

    "A man should never be ashamed to own he has been wrong, which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."