GOD – OUR ONLY TRUE SHEPHERD – IS ALL WE NEED
September 6 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 34-36
"I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord God. "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment. You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God." (Ezek 34:15-16, 31)
In Ezekiel 34, the leaders of Israel depicted as “shepherds” received a performance review from God that was not good. The leaders were spending most of their energies feeding themselves instead of the flock (vv. 2–8), and they were giving them nothing but leftovers (vv. 18–19). Not only were they neglecting the most vulnerable among the people, the weak, the sick, the broken, and the refugees, but they were actually taking advantage of them (vv. 4–6, 21). There was only one remedy for this situation—to remove the leaders from leadership (vv. 9–10).
Instead, God Himself would heal the hurting, restore the scattered, and feed His flock (vv. 11–16). He will be their Shepherd and will gather them to the land and rule over them (during the Millennium). Evangelist D. L. Moody nicely outlines God’s ministry to His sheep:
Notice the “I will’s” of the Lord God on behalf of his sheep: I will search them and seek them out (v. 11). I will deliver them (v. 12). I will bring them out - I will gather them together - I will bring them in (v. 13). I will feed them (v. 14). I will cause them to lie down (v. 15). I will bind up the broken - I will strengthen the sick (v. 16).
John Taylor also beautifully ties together the revelations of God as Shepherd in both Testaments for us:
The picture of the shepherd searching out the wanderer (in verse 12) is a remarkable foreshadowing of the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4), which our Lord doubtless based on this passage in Ezekiel. It illustrates as clearly as anything can do, the tender, loving qualities of the God of the Old Testament, and strikes a death-blow at those who try to drive a wedge between Yahweh, God of Israel, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nor is this the only passage that speaks of God, the tender shepherd (Psalms 78:52; 79:13; 80:1; Isaiah 40:11; 49:9; Jer. 31:10).
Thus, this passage in Ezekiel 34 is a prefiguring of Christ as the Good Shepherd (John 10:1–16), who would bring His sheep back “to their own land” (vv. 12, 13). It also speaks of the future day of deliverance when God will seek out His sheep (see 36:16–36). Israel, though guilty and misguided, would eventually be rescued by the divine Good Shepherd and restored to the Promised Land.
Today, Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20–21), and He cares for His own. He sends “showers of blessing” on the dry land and makes it into a garden (vv. 26, 29). What a difference it makes when our God is in control! He is ALL we need!