Fed Shepherds and Starving Sheep
Ezekiel 34:1-2 (ESV) — 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?
The state of the church in America is not great. There are many leaders in charge of churches that do not love or care for the people of those churches. Some leaders use their position and platform to gain for themselves. Others use the sheep to advance their own agendas and personal goals. The Lord knows the hearts of men and where their motivations lie, even if hidden from other people.
In our passage today, we hear the LORD speak about the shepherds and leaders of Israel. He is angry with them. His frustration is vented at their self-interest and lack of provision for the sheep in their charge. We read, “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?”
God tells Ezekiel to speak against the shepherds of Israel. He condemns the shepherds for feeding themselves and not feeding their sheep. They have used the sheep to profit for themselves rather than serving and protecting the sheep. God appoints shepherds for His people. The goal and responsibility of the shepherds is to care for them. They are God’s sheep. The shepherds of Israel, like the shepherds of the church, were supposed to love and provide for the sheeps’ needs.
Christians should seek to join churches that have biblical shepherds. Not all shepherds care for the sheep. Some use them. Some fleece the sheep for their own benefit. Good shepherds model the Good Shepherd, Jesus. He lays His life down for the sheep. He cares for and loves the sheep. That’s what good shepherds do.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does God use the imagery of sheep and shepherds when describing the role of leaders over His people?
- What are some examples of bad shepherds? What are examples of good shepherds?
- How does this passage inform us about God’s care for His people?
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