Lot of judgin’ going on in the prophets. The rebellious and adulteress house of Israel is judged. The adulteress and rebellious house of Judah is judged. The people are judged. The leaders are judged. And even their enemies are judged. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).
And while, in a sense, you kind of get use to it, this morning’s installment of judgment sends a particular shiver down my spine.
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? . . . therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue My sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.”
(Ezekiel 34:1-2, 9-10 ESV)
The shepherds! Those entrusted with the care of God’s chosen people. Those tasked with feeding the flock; leading them to safe pastures; keeping them together and safe from predators. They are judged.
What are God’s chosen caregivers doing feeding themselves instead of the sheep? Not only feeding themselves, but feeding themselves with the flock so that God has to rescue His sheep from their mouths.
How far south has this gone? Pretty far!
The weak they have not strengthened. The sick they have not healed. The injured are left untended. Those prone to wonder are not brought back, and those who are lost have not been sought. And so, the sheep are scattered. And there is none to search or seek for them. Their shepherds have gone AWOL (34:4-6).
Enter God Himself.
“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I Myself will search for My sheep and will seek them out.”
(Ezekiel 34:11 ESV)
Yes, these are the rebellious sheep, the adulteress sheep. But they are God’s sheep. And He Himself will contend and care for them.
He will bring them out of the peoples. Gather them to Himself. He will feed them. He will make them lie down. Seeking the lost. Bringing back those who have strayed. Binding up the injured. Strengthening the weak. So that “they shall lie down in good grazing land” (34:13-16).
“I will rescue my flock,” says the LORD (34:22).
But wait! There’s more!
“And I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.”
(Ezekiel 34:23-24 ESV)
Meditating this morning on the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (Jn. 10:11). Thinking on the Great Shepherd, the One who was “brought again from the dead” and who, “by the blood of the eternal covenant” not only meets the flock’s needs, but equips the flock for the Father’s glory (Heb. 13:20-21). Noodling on the Chief Shepherd who will again appear–until then, calling His under-shepherds to care for His flock, promising an unfading crown of glory for those who serve His people faithfully.
He is the LORD’s servant David. The Son of God. The promised Shepherd.
He is my Shepherd . . . and I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1).
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
All by His amazing grace. All for His everlasting glory.