Archive for December 8th, 2017

Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI in the 1490’s) was once described as “knowing neither shame, nor sincerity, faith nor religion.”  Apparently he was possessed by an insatiable greed and an overwhelming and obsessive ambition for the advancement of his many children!  Verses 1-10 paint a similar picture of the dire spiritual state of Judah.  Not only the “sheep” are condemned but also the “shepherds” (v.17-22), those leaders who have acted cruelly, greedily and selfishly exploiting those under their care.  While God’s message through Ezekiel applied to Israel’s current situation then, it can also be applied to their future.  In those days sheep grazed on open hillsides and wandered over large distances.  Flocks could easily get mixed up with others, and rounding them up was not easy.  This is the “picture” of Judah who had been broken and scattered, but God promised to “round them up” and would eventually make a way through for them to return to Jerusalem.

It is plain to see when God speaks about his “flock” he is referring to the people – “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture” Psalm 100:3 says.  Moses viewed Israel as a flock, Num.  27:17, as did Jeremiah Jer. 13:17 and Zechariah, Zech. 10:3 Jesus spoke of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matt. 10:6, 15:24, and referred to himself as “the Good Shepherd and the “door of the sheep” John 10:7, 11.  The early Church was used to this picture of the “flock” too, as one can see in Acts 20:28-29 and 1 Peter 5:2-3.  Furthermore did you know that our English word “Pastor” comes from the Latin meaning “Shepherd”!  Towards the end of this chapter we read of God’s promise to his people of better times ahead for them when God would appoint a “good shepherd” a “new David” to care for them, which of course was referring to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout history there have been bad shepherds (leaders) who have exploited God’s flock but God’s promises are faithful and He will fulfil what He has promised in caring for his “flock”, his committed and loyal disciples.  Jesus, the perfect shepherd said,  ‘I am the good shepherd;  I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep’ “ John 10:14-15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lord Jesus, let us not forget to pray consistently for our good shepherds for wisdom, revelation and God’s heart for their flocks in our church groups, whatever denomination we adhere to.  Amen.

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