“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?’” (Ezekiel 34:2). There is nothing new under the sun, and since time began, presidents and kings, governors, legislators and the like have neglected their sheep in pursuit of profit and power and pleasure. The words of Ezekiel are aptly spoken today.
Ezekiel has been candid about the Israelite’s current condition–they would wander off and be scattered and become easy prey to the villainous savages surrounding them. Now he speaks of a future, “I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23). Except David, the King, is dead and gone. Ezekiel could only be speaking of another, one to come, a son of David.
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, and when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36).
People are sheep, an unflattering metaphor. Sheep are dumb, wander off, follow whomever, and get lost often. “My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them” (Ezekiel 34:6). If these words sound familiar, it is because Jesus makes them his own, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). We have been following other sheep. It’s time we turned to the Shepherd.
Oh Lord, You are my Shepherd, the good Shepherd who rescues me from the slaughter of my own making. I am prone to wander, and You are forever watchful. You prod me and nudge me, and sometimes You just have to pick me up and set me aright. Thank You for caring for me more than I care for myself.
God, may I learn Your ways. May I pick up Your staff, as well, and guide others toward the good Shepherd. May I be ever watchful and care enough to sacrifice myself for the sake of Your sheep.