Tuesday, 21 April 2020 Ezekiel 34:1-31
"You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture.” -Ezekiel 34:31
The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel was a captive in the land of Babylon during the seventy years of exile of Israel and was the first prophet of the exile.
Here in Chapter 34, through Ezekiel’s prophecy, God is criticizing Israel’s leaders for taking care of themselves rather than taking care of the people. He outlined their sins (Eze 34:1-6) and pronounced judgement upon them (Eze 34:7-10). Then He promised that a good shepherd would come who would take care of the people as a shepherd was supposed to do (Eze 34:11-31). This beautiful message portrays the work of the new shepherd, and the future of the sheep. Spiritual leaders must be careful not to pursue self-development at the expense of the broken, lost people.
The primary duty of a shepherd is to see that the flock was well fed. Jesus said to Peter, "Feed My sheep" and "Tend My sheep." (John 21:15-17). Peter wrote to the elders to feed the flock of God. Paul tells us that God has placed in the church, shepherd teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the building up of the body of Christ.
The false shepherds did everything but feed them. They did not care for the sick among the flock. They did not bind up the broken. They did not seek those which were driven away. They did not seek those that are lost. They ruled with force and cruelty.
The following comparison brings out the difference very clear:
Take care of themselves
Worry about their own health
Rule harshly and brutally
Abandon and scatter the sheep
Keep the best for themselves
Take care of their flock
Strengthen the weak and sick, search for the lost
Rule lovingly and gently
Gather and protect the sheep
Give their best to the sheep
In contrast to the evil shepherds (leaders) of God’s people, God promised to send a perfect shepherd –My servant David who will take care of every need his people have and set up a Kingdom of perfect peace and justice (see Psalms 23; Jer. 23:5-6; John 10:11; Hebrew 13:20-21). Peace here means more than the absence of conflict; it is contentment, fulfillment and security.
Who is this shepherd? "My servant, David . . . And I, the LORD will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD, have spoken" (Eze 34:23-24). This coming Shepherd will be known as "my servant David" (Eze.37:22-26). He will establish an everlasting throne of David as Yahweh had promised. This grand promise of the establishment of an everlasting throne of David finds its fulfilment in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
No doubt, this passage and other pictures of the Old Testament shepherds were in His mind when Christ revealed the six great truths to every true believer in John Chapter10. (1) “My sheep hear My voice” (2) “I know them” -The Good Shepherd knows His own sheep. (3) "They follow Me" (4) "I give eternal life to them" (5) "They shall never perish" (6) "No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Double security! Jesus holds us in His hands and the Father holds Him in His hands! How great is our Saviour! Marvellous is His sovereign saving grace!
Father, I thank You for the divine, perfect protection by keeping me always under the shadow of Your wings through Christ Jesus who is the Great Shepherd King.