If you have been given this task, do it will sincerity in heart. God has reminded me today of the importance of this duty, this job, this calling. It is not to be taken lightly, and not to be taken selfishly.
Today’s reading led me through Ezekiel chapter 34
This is quite interesting. Here, Ezekiel is charged by God to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. God tells Ezek to say to them, “Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?” (Eze. 34:2). The rest of the chapter follows this theme. God speaks through Ezek to the said shepherds of Israel and basically tells them to do their job – sort of.f context. Verse 3 and 4 reads as follows:
“3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.”
After this, God describes how His sheep (aka, His people [Eze. 34:31]) were scattered abroad because of the selfishness of the shepherds (Eze. 8). He then goes to tell them how He is going to require His sheep by their hands and put a stop to them feeding His sheep. In other words, they got fired – big time (Eze. 10)! Not only did they get fired, but God put a stop to the shepherds even feeding themselves! (Eze. 10)! So, who shall take care of the sheep now?
Enter the Good Shepherd
The rest of the chapter deals with God telling His people that He alone will be their shepherd. He says that He will seek out His sheep (Eze. 11). He will gather them to Himself and feed them on His Holy Mountain (Eze.13). He will feed them on good pastures, and they shall graze on rich pastures (Eze. 14). God alone will seek the lost, he will strengthen the weak, He will bind the injured, and He will exercise just judgement (Eze. 16). And He will put His servant David as prince among them (Eze. 24).
Now, I haven’t done any historical background on this particular chapter, but this sure seems like a Messianic prophecy to me
For one, the ESVSB agrees with me, that this could indeed be prophetical. But what is more interesting is that this is what had to be done. Why couldn’t the people of God be good shepherds to His sheep? Why did God have to go so far as to make HIMSELF the shepherd? And why did He have to make David the prince? Clearly, this is referring to the Messianic fulfillment of the good shepherd. Here is what the ESVSB study notes have to say, ”
A Christological reading finds here an anticipation of the divine-human nature of the Messiah. Such a reading explains John 10:11–18, where, in claiming to be the “good shepherd,” Jesus claims to be both the Davidic Messiah (Ezek. 34:23) and the incarnate God of Israel (v. 15; cf. John 1:14).”
Why must Jesus be the good shepherd? Because He is the only capable one.
This is a sovereign duty. No one is capable of this duty, save for God Himself. People fail because of our totally depraved nature
But don’t think that it’s a way to get off the hook of responsibility! If you’re a shepherd (you are a pastor, you are a parent, you are a ministry leader, etc.), then you still have to guide the sheep. Always remember, though:
Jesus is the Senior Sphepherd!
All eyes on Him. All ears toward Him. Plain and simple. Don’t think for one minute that you are greater than what God has placed you here for. Jesus is the Senior Shepherd, the Senior Pastor. He’s the one that knows best, because He alone is the only one capable of being the Good Shepherd.
- Jonathan J.