13 September 2021
Reading: Ezekiel 33-35; Revelation 18
10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey. 11 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. (Ezekiel 34:10-11 NLT)
God directs his warning message through Ezekiel to the leaders and influencers of his people. He addresses them as his shepherds, tells them what they’re doing wrong, and then explains in detail how a shepherd should care for sheep. Here in Ezekiel 34, there’s a list of the wrong things the bad shepherds are doing. There are instructions for how the sheep should behave as well, but right now, I’m just looking at the responsibilities of the shepherd.
These are the things a good shepherd does for the sheep:
• Go after the sheep and rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered. Bring them back.
• Feed them in rich pastures, beside streams of water, in their familiar home country.
• Make sure they get plenty of rest.
• Collect the strays.
• Doctor the injured.
• Strengthen the weak ones.
• Oversee the strong ones.
• Protect them from exploitation.
• Resolve conflicts and ensure fairness between one sheep and another.
These are the God-assigned duties of a shepherd. These are the responsibilities of parents, educators, church leaders, in fact, of leaders at all levels in all areas of society. These are my responsibilities as well—toward any and all I influence and lead.
Father, I want to be a good shepherd of my family and a good leader and influencer in my church and my community. In whatever arena you allow me influence, may I lead wisely and well, motivated by the same love for the sheep that you describe in Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34, and John 10. Please make me a good shepherd of the sheep—never for a moment forgetting that they’re your sheep. Amen.