Unfaithful Shepherds

This morning we got up early (3 a.m.) to take Debbie to the airport for her trip to Atlanta. She will be there while I take grandson Caedmon to Grand Camp this next week. I came to Lakewood to spend some time with Christian and his family. We spend several hours at my mom’s house visiting her and helping with some yard work.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… This is the declaration of the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak….I will shepherd them with justice. Ezekiel 34:16 HCSB

Old Testament prophets communicated God’s message through a variety of word pictures and metaphors. In this chapter the focus is not so much on the sheep, but the failure of shepherds. These shepherds were like the “hired hands” we read about in John’s gospel.

Jesus said, The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. (John 10:12 NIV) The Lord spoke through Ezekiel and said, My shepherds do not search for My flock, and because the shepherds feed themselves rather than My flock…” (Ezekiel 34:8 HCSB) These irresponsible and self-centered shepherds allowed the sheep to be exposed to danger and they focused on meeting their own needs. The Lord passes the indictment, The shepherds will no longer feed themselves…” (Ezekiel 34:10 HCSB) In contrast Jesus said, The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NIV)

So we see the Lord steps in, “fires” the bad shepherds and demonstrates the actions and care for His own flock. The type of care that He would expect from those given a trust. The context of Ezekiel is how the Lord will one day restore His “lost sheep” to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But in doing so, we see striking parallels to Jesus the “Good Shepherd.”

The Lord says, “I Myself will search for My flock and look for them….” (Ezekiel 34:11 HCSB) We are reminded for the “Parable of the Lost Sheep” and how the shepherd leaves the 99 and looks for the one that is lost.

Then we see a vivid description of the care and restoration of the shepherd. “I will bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak….”  Restoration, healing and recovery are all part of what we see in the Lord’s care for His people throughout time. Those who feel lost and without hope, can be found and restored. The wounded even by their own actions, and wanderings, can find healing from the Lord. Those who are crippled and weak can find new strength through the intervention of the shepherd’s care.

The capstone of the restoration is seen in the words, I will send down showers in their season—showers of blessing. The trees of the field will give their fruit, and the land will yield its produce; My flock will be secure in their land. (Ezekiel 34:26,27 HCSB)

These verses not only remind us of what the Lord does for us in His care, but is a foretelling of the day when we will be in the true “promised land” of an eternity in the Lord’s presence. It is also a reminder of the responsibility and expectations that Lord has for those who are “given a trust” to care for God’s people. Be that within the Church or the world or our families.

Prayer for Today… “Lord thank You for the care you have for us as Your “flock.” When we wander, you seek, find and restore us. When we are injured, you heal, when we are weak, you restore strength. We look to that day when we all of Your children are restored the the “place of promise” You have prepared for all who love and serve You.”