Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Shepherds of Israel

"And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, prophecy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd: and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them."

'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: "As I live," says the Lord GOD, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock"--therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them."

'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countried, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold, and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 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."

Have you had the sorrow and anguish of being one of the sheep in our modern churches where the leaders, who are supposed to model themselves after Christ instead model themselves after the selfish shepherds of Ezekiel 34? Where the elders and leaders "pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad"? Where they ignore Paul's command in 1 Timothy 5:21 "I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality"? Where the view appears to be that being one of the elders has elevated them into a "special club" where they have certain privileges of kings instead of transporting them into a greater degree of service and charity? Where chasing after the lost is more important than strengthening the faith of the Christians present? Where activities, buildings, and cash are the focus? Where personal gain and reputation are more important than nourishing your soul and your family's walk with God? Where only the people who are wealthy or who sit and submit to all the injustices and do not cry out are accepted?

If so, then perhaps the same passage of Ezekiel 34 will prove to be a comfort to you as it has to our family. When such conditions exist in Israel as exist today, then the Lord GOD promises to take up the job of caring for, providing for, and tending to the sheep who have been scattered because of the earthly shepherds' failures. You can take comfort in what God promises to us: "You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God," says the Lord GOD.

---posted by Queen Lucy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." Isaiah 40:10,11