Feed my sheep!


Whenever I see something in the Old Testament that points directly to the New Testament, I stop and read again.  This is one of those passages, and it is predicting the coming of the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd whom we know was Jesus Of Nazareth hundreds of years after this was written.
 

 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.  The shepherds here are the rulers and kings of Israel.  As leaders of God’s people, they were expected to lead the sheep faithfully.  Remember what Jesus said to Peter – “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” ‭‭John‬ ‭21:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬. The leaders, the shepherds of Israel, were expected to be faithful to Yahweh, instead they only looked after themselves.  Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.   This sounds like our modern day governments.  All the pomp and circumstance, all the beautiful people dressed beautifully, the makeup people never far off.  Taking all they could and then some, and when some of the sheep flourish anyway, bring them in for the slaughter.


So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.  The sheep were scattered, with none to search for them.  Israel had strayed from the covenant of God, and many of her people were scattered among surrounding empires.  This, of course, as opposed to the Good Shepherd, who went looking for the lost sheep even though he  had 99 others who hadn’t strayed.  It was not accidental that God called David to be king, a little shepherd boy who knew how to tend his flock.   Not accidental that He chose David, and not accidental that the Messiah would come from that shepherd boys family line.

Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.”     All these shepherds of Israel not tending the flock, leaders of God’s people only tending to their own needs, not the needs of His people.  So He will come Himself to be the Good Shepherd.  There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.   Sounds like our favorite psalm to me – “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” ‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2‬ ‭ESV‬.  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.  He calls for all of us, His lost sheep.  But we don’t want to follow the Good Shepherd.  We don’t want to admit when we’ve strayed.  We’re too proud to acknowledge our own weakness.  He is calling to us, but we don’t listen.  We’d rather follow our own Pied Pipers, dancing, singing and drinking to our own beats.  Following the music men wherever they go, unaware of the cliff coming ever closer, only mocking those who might have the audacity to point out – “Hey, that cliff is getting awfully close!!”



“The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭34:1-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/ezk.34.1-16.esv

 

 
 
 
 John Lewis

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