Woe to the Shepherds

August 13, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts, It's All About God | Leave a comment

Ezekiel 34.  This chapter has always been a convicting passage for me to read.  As a pastor, I believe I have been given a sacred duty from God, and I want to be faithful to that.  Unfortunately, I see many of my own faults listed here in the condemnation of the shepherds of Israel.  I believe “shepherds” here is used metaphorically of the spiritual leaders.  My title is “Preaching Pastor,” and I think I do my primary duty well.  It is easy for me to do the one thing I get the best feedback from, but there are all these other pastoral duties that I sometimes struggle with: healing the sick, strengthening the weak, bringing back the strays and seeking the lost. (v.4)  The reason given here for the condemnation is exactly my struggle as well: “Woe to you shepherds who only take care of yourselves!” (v.2) and “my shepherds cared for themselves rather than for my flock.” (v.8)  I certainly stand guilty of that one.  So much of my world is about me.

            However, today I saw this chapter in a new light, consistent with the incredible grace of God.  The promise of this chapter is that, in spite of my failings, God is the one who shepherds his people!  Notice the last half of the chapter (beginning in verse 11):  “This is what the Sovereign LORD says, ‘I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.’”  “I will rescue them . . .  I will pasture them . . .  I myself will tend my sheep . . .  I will shepherd the flock.”  No less than 20 times the Sovereign LORD says, “I will do it!”  That is something I can rely on, because in my sinful, selfish ways, I cannot do it right.  I thank God for his amazing grace; it’s all about him!

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