Responsibility, judgment, accountability (33:8-20)? Who owes who (33:24)? Your task (34:4)? Good Shepherd (34:11-20). Covenant of Peace (34:25-33). Don't slander Israel (chap. 35)! God discipline and hope (36:9,22-30).
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the LORD GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them (Ezek. 34: 2,4).
This Word from the Lord to Ezekiel is similar to an earlier warning that was addressed to the prophets of Israel. However, this time there are some distinct differences. For starters, this particular warning is addressed to the shepherds.
The next difference gives us much material to meditate over. The Lord has given Ezekiel a specific list of all the ways that the shepherds have failed their flocks. The shepherds are given a reproof from God concerning how they ruled without regard to those under their care.
In today's time, we look at our pastors, elders, deacons and other church leaders as holding the office referred to as a shepherd. Some people believe the only responsibility of those in this office is to preach or teach when we gather together for worship. Others would turn these people into a “jack of all trades." They would place on these individuals every responsibility conceivable. These are the people that believe that the pastor's job is to be at their beck and call 24/7.
In today's verse, the Word of God provides an excellent list that should be used anytime a church is searching for a leader. It will definitely sift out those candidates who are looking for a Sunday only job. Those who would commit their lives to the causes in the Scripture are ones who take the charge of Christ seriously. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me (Mark 10:21).
When looking at the list in these verses, we see that there is a lot of care that goes into shepherding the Lord's flock. It is important to remember that this is the Church we are talking about. This is the object of the affection of Christ. The Lord loves the Church deeply. Any person that He calls to attend to its needs had better be seriously up to the task. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church (Eph. 5:25,29).
If the Lord is calling you into leadership of His flock, then you should respond with earnest prayer. When you accept the calling you must know the responsibility it entails. Those of us called to this office have been entrusted with the greatest possession of Christ, the Church. Those of us not called to this office should always do our best to offer prayer and support for those who are.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power (II Thes. 1:11).
Thought for Today:
When you give to God, your investment pays rich dividends.
As the Shepherd (Ezek. 34:23). Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep (John 10:14).
34:14 a fat, the best; 34:27 delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them, freed them from slavery; 36:3 an infamy of, slandered, ridiculed by.
Prayer Suggestion: Exalt the Lord, for He is holy (Ps. 99:9).
Optional Reading: Revelation 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 145:3