Ezekiel 34 – Shepherds
This chapter highlights the many characteristics that false shepherds reveal. The first negative point mentioned is that they are self serving, viz feeding and clothing themselves first instead of feeding the sheep, vs 1-3.
As a result, they have failed to strengthen the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, bring back the strays, or seek out the lost, but with force and harshness they have ruled over them, vs 4! It was as though the sheep had no shepherd at all, vs 5! So the sheep were scattered and became easy prey for the wild beasts(evil spirits), vs 6, and yet the shepherds failed to seek them out, vs 7,8. As a result, God was against such shepherds and was going to pronounce judgment on them by removing them from their position, such that the innocent sheep would be delivered from their grasp, vs 9,10. Now God Himself would fill in the gap, and He Himself would seek them out from the places to which they had been scattered, and He would bring them back to their land. There in His presence they would be well fed and well rested, vs 11-15.
However, before this God would judge one sheep from another and those that are rams and goats too, vs 16,17. For, it is sad to notice that even among the sheep, there are those that become fat by eating the best pasture and drinking the best water and then contaminating the rest so that other sheep cannot enjoy the same too, and as a result, some sheep are fat while others are weak and lean, vs 18,19! For this God was certain to visit them with judgment, vs 20!
And as if that was not enough, they even go so far as to hurt and harm the weak ones, so as to drive them away from their rightful place that God desired for them to inherit, vs 21. God was all set to change this by saving the weak and judging those doing wrong, vs 22, so as to eventually set that one Shepherd over them, who would come from David’s line, and lay down His life for the sheep, vs 23,24. Then they will enjoy God’s covenant of peace and be rid of the wild beasts that sought to devour them, vs 25,28. Then they would experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and an abundance of the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit too, thus being set free from all bondage to sin, fear, famine, and the insults of the Nations, vs 26,27,29.
Then they will really know what it means to abide in God’s presence and be God’s people, vs 30,31! This chapter is a wake up call for false shepherds, evil sheep and innocent sheep too! If my aim is not self sacrifice so as to lay down my life for the sheep, then I am a ‘false shepherd’.
If I am self centered and not interested in the other sheep enjoying the pastures of food, drink, rest and refreshment just as I do, but instead taunt and so scatter the sheep, then I can be compared to the ‘fat’ sheep and if I do neither of the above evil deeds, but rather am a victim of the evil done by these other two categories of sheep, then I am the ‘weak’ sheep! Just as my deeds are so will be my judgment or blessings be too from the hand of God.
For God is not mocked, as a man sows, so shall he reap too! It is for the innocent sheep to examine their lives and consider whether their lives are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Saviour such that the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon them and leading to greater heights in life and ministry and in the enhancement and the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit too, under the shepherds they are submitting to at present, but if not, they need to take heed and seek God for direction such that their destinies in Christ do not suffer shipwreck as a result!
May each one seek God in this regard so as to know and do His perfect will. Amen.