The Good Shepherd
1. Wicked Shepherds Described and Judged
a. God's people neglected
Key Scripture (Ezekiel 34:1-6): And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and [a]cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
b. God Rebukes uncaring Leaders
Key Scripture (Ezekiel 34:7-10): ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
2. Wicked Sheep Described and Judged
a. God sees evildoers
Key Scripture (Ezekiel 34:17-19): ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the [a]residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”
b. God Judges and saves
Key Scripture (Ezekiel 34:20-22): ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
response to the word
What should our response be to the fact that God knows the deeds of every person, and His judgement is against those who do evil? Many people live with no knowledge or consciousness of this fact. Others know it, but simply put it out of mind, as though it is not a fact. When people conduct their lives as thourh there is no God who knows and judges every person, evil can abound in their lives. The most dangers society is one in which people have no sense of accountability to God, and no fear of God. People need to hear the Bible and the Gospel, to be informed that God judges and saves. Truly believing this is life transforming.
Response to the word
Spiritual leaders (shelperds) who take seriously their responsibility to God and people, encourage and nurture people to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, to become strong, spiritually mature Christians. Caring spiritual leaders have compassion for the people they lead, and seek to bring heling and wholeness to those who are broken and hurting. God does not want His people to be harmed, or to be scattered from the fellowship of the church. Christlike leaders help to hold their fellow believers together as a community of faith, fellowship of the church those who have wandered away. Thank God for good spiritual leaders, and honor them for their ministry.
3. The Good Shepherd Described
a. god gathers and nourishes
Key Scripture (Ezekiel 34:11-16): ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [a]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
b. the messiah-shepherd
Key Scripture (Ezekiel 34:23-31): I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up for them a garden[a] of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord God.’
31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.
Response to the word
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Great Good Shelperd over the flock of God. He has put in place under-shepherds, whom we call pastors or elders. Their responsibility is to follow the example of the Chief Shelpherd, who is Jesus Christ, in caring for believers in Christ, and in leading people to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Their ministry of being good shepherds to their fellow believers, and to all people, can be demanding, and sometimes discouraging. remember to pray for your pastor, speak words of appreciation and encouragement to your pastor, and support your pastor through tithing and giving.