From Ezekiel 34-36
For many years after Ezekiel they hoped for the coming of this promised Christ, the descendant of David. The Jews endured the rule of foreign nations. Confessed the sins of their people. Returned to the promised land. Through all this they waited and hoped. Some even pretended to be the Christ. Unfortunately they proved to be poor shepherds. The people under their rule tended to follow them into battle and they died. Whose voice do you listen to?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Israel’s relationship with the LORD is described in different ways. LORD and servant, Father and Son or children, God and priests, Master and Vineyard. To name a few. In today’s passage the LORD refers to himself as a shepherd, the people of Israel are his sheep.
11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. (Eze 34.11-14)
The LORD as shepherd will seek out his lost sheep. They have been scattered. Israel has been scattered herself. Punished by Assyria and Babylon, they have been exiled and scattered among the nations. The LORD promised to search out and find his sheep. When he finds them he will provide for them and they shall rest peacefully.
15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. (Eze 34.15-16)
The LORD reaffirms his promises. In addition he says he will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. The LORD is our healer. He will also destroy. Presumably, these are the nations who are oppressing the sheep. Once the LORD has found and restored his sheep, he will provide for them as their righteous king.
17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? (Eze 34.17-19)
The LORD now seems to discuss the present state of affairs. His promises refer to the future. It seems the current sheep are not respectfully treating others well. They take for themselves and don’t consider the impact of their actions on others.
20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 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. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. (Eze 34.20-24)
The LORD will judge the fat sheep and protect his lean sheep. The fat sheep have become that way because they have prospered and been well fed.
Are you a fat sheep or a lean sheep? Do you oppress or do you feel oppressed?
Quite often this is the result of oppressing the lean sheep. Once again the LORD promises to restore his sheep and feed them.
Previously the LORD said he will be the shepherd of the sheep (Eze 34.15). Now he says he will set up a shepherd, his servant David. This will be a king of David’s line. But does that mean the LORD will not be the shepherd, David’s descendant will? Not necessarily, it probably means when David’s descendant and the LORD will be one and the same.
Either way, the LORD has spoken. He promises to send a descendant of David to seek and care for his people.
30 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.” (Eze 34.30-31)
When the LORD does this they shall know the LORD their God is with them and they are his people. The sheep he cares for.
Story of Israel
For many years after Ezekiel they hoped for the coming of this promised Christ, the descendant of David. The Jews endured the rule of foreign nations. Confessed the sins of their people. Returned to the promised land. Through all this they waited and hoped. Some even pretended to be the Christ. Unfortunately they proved to be poor shepherds. The people under their rule tended to follow them into battle and they died.
Story of Jesus
When Jesus came some asked the question if he was the Christ. He never really gave straight answers in reply. But once Jesus said;
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (Jn 10.11-18)
Assuming Jesus knows Ezekiel’s prophecy. What he said is unmistakable. He embodies the LORD’s coming to his lost sheep. In him God cares for his people.
What do you think about Jesus?
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights