The Shepherds and God’s Flock

Open Your Bible

Ezekiel 34:1-31, Ezekiel 35:1-15, Psalm 23:1-4, John 10:11-14

I’m a bona fide shepherdess. My little midwestern farm often has sheep grazing in the pasture. When I hear sermons about how dumb sheep are, my eyes automatically want to roll. (Sorry, pastor.) Those fluffy white creatures aren’t dumb (at least not any more so than the next barnyard animal), but they are vulnerable. Because rain and wolves, disease and disaster are always nearby, all sheep need a shepherd—a good one. 

Here in Ezekiel 34, after pages and pages of prophetic warnings, the word of the Lord appeared to Ezekiel again, this time to pronounce judgment on “the shepherds of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:1). As I read these verses through the lens of my farm, they seem less of a rant against shepherds and more of a manifesto about God’s love. Consider:

“You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead you have ruled them with violence and cruelty. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered.” —Ezekiel 34:4–5

While this could fit as a bad performance review for literal shepherds, if we keep reading, we find hyperbole. 

“My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them.” —Ezekiel 34:6 

God was speaking to Ezekiel about more than barnyard animals. This flock was made up of His children. God’s people were, in fact, scattered. Many were in captivity at the time of Ezekiel’s vision. Others were made homeless by the destruction of invading nations. Still, there’s a deeper truth. There is no human shepherd who can truly keep us safe from the dangers of sin. Our spiritual leaders are broken, too. Our good deeds aren’t a safe pen. Our hearts sing siren songs toward unsafe territories. Though we aren’t stupid, we are vulnerable. 

But hallelujah, we have a good Shepherd! In John 10, Jesus declared Himself as the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy. 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” –John 10:11 

Yes, we’re prone to wander toward all manner of dangers. We do have an enemy who prowls around looking for an opportunity to devour us (1Peter 5:8). Still, Ezekiel’s prophecy points out that Christ’s great love for us motivates Him to pay attention to our needs. Our Good Shepherd is ever on guard! 

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53 thoughts on "The Shepherds and God’s Flock"

  1. Alli Fulford says:


  2. Katie Murphy says:

    Thank you Jesus !

  3. Laurie Crary says:

    Ezekiel 34 is amazing!!!

  4. Terany Garnett says:

    Our gracious Lord is so loving on us. All the days I read and I feel so much guilt and conviction and the small reminder of His love keeps me safe from my own thoughts.

  5. Terri Baldwin says:

    JOHN 10:11-14
    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,
    “The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves
    them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and
    scatters them., ‘3 This happens because he is a hired hand and doesn’t care about
    the sheep.
    “”I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me..

  6. Emilee Dickman says:

    I also needed thi today. I think it’s good I’m running a day behind because the timing of this today was perfect. Thank God for his great love to step in and Shepherd us like none other can.

  7. Julie A says:

    Alexandra, Taylor, Gabriella and anyone else who is having similar boyfriend trouble, I am praying for your situation. I have been through something similar recently. It was so hard, I got physically sick and developed eczema with the stress. Don’t let it get that far with you. If the relationship is healthy, God-centred, he treats you well and there is potential, do try to work through it. But not all relationships are fit for marriage, and sometimes it’s safest to call it off. Don’t think he is your “only chance”, that you need a man to be fulfilled, that you deserve to be taken for granted or that it’s normal to always feel you’re about to break up, not knowing where you stand. It should be much better than that. What you see in dating will be amplified in marriage – good and bad. Getting engaged will not fix a rocky relationship. I think Christian culture can be even worse than secular society for making us feel like we all must get married asap and that we aren’t adults until we are married. That is not a good enough reason to pursue marriage. Go back and read the key verses in Ephesians 5 on how husbands and wives are to sacrificially love each other. If you can’t see your man doing this for you, it may not be wise to continue. Also, when you’re seeking God’s guidance on this, be careful not to assume your feelings are God’s voice – ask God to show you HIS will, not to validate your own feelings. Reading 1 Thessalonians 5v16-18 hit me like a tonne of bricks when I was considering ending my unhealthy relationship. Does he rejoice always? Does he pray continually? Does he give thanks in all circumstances? No, he picked faults with my appearance, his very nice car, meals I cooked for him…ultimately I could not live with this negativity, which was hindering me from thanking God for all the blessings he has given me. My relationship with God is now stronger than ever, and I have much more time to devote to serving others. Praying that you make wise choices.

  8. Lauren Gannon says:

    Good Lord, did I need this today. Feels like the world is constantly chaotic and dark, globally and personally. As I read the words today, trying to keep my brain on the page and away from the worries of the day, I gradually felt myself relax. God is in control. God loves us and cares for us so gently and steadfastly.

  9. Gabriella Diaz says:

    i’m going through the same thing also. Just reading this and knowing I am not the only one has brought tears to my eyes. I was not going to do the reading today, but I just felt the weight of this relationship so heavy that I needed to take a moment and read. I never thought I would get exactly what I needed and hear such similar stories. Praying for both of you tonight. Please pray for me also.

  10. Gabriella Diaz says:

    i’m going through the same thing also. Just reading this and knowing I am not the only one has brought tears to my eyes. I was not going to do the reading today, but I just felt the weight of this relationship so heavy that I needed to take a moment and read. I never thought I would get exactly what I needed and here are such similar stories.

  11. Ashlee Hickson says:

    I enjoyed Gods words about his sheep today. God is just and will always save his people ❤️

  12. Sky Hilton says:

    “They abandoned the sheep as soon as they see the wolf coming; then the wolf snatchers and scatters the sheep. This is because the hired hand works for pay and cares nothing for the sheep.”

    This spoke to my heart today because it reminds me of so many false saviors that are so current in American culture today. So many cults and other things like that say that they will offer you answer, a savior, a family. But Jesus is our true and only shepherd. Only in Jesus will we find the answers, and simply be better people. Only in Jesus we are found and no long lost. What an amazing Shepherd we have! Amen!

  13. Cindy Hanna says:

    My care and nurturing are in the hands of the Good Shepherd. Everything I need He supplies generously. If/when I wander, He seeks to restore me to himself. So much reason for rejoicing.

  14. Jennifer Anapol says:

    As a mom, I can relate to wanting to protect your children from bad things happening to them. I’m so thankful that Hod has become our good Shepard❤️

  15. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Sorry typo, his*

  16. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I really loved the devotional today. It’s so nice to hear God’s heart and love for Hos children.

  17. Taylor Smalley says:

    Alexandra, I am going through something so similar. I just started dating this guy that I see so much potential with and he’s struggling a lot also with work and questioning if we should really pursue a relationship. It’s really hard for me because I’ve been through a lot with relationships, I know what I’m looking for, and I know he has so many of those qualities. I’ve been really clinging to our shepherd and trusting that He’s got us. I’m praying for you and would really appreciate prayers for me too. This has just been heavy on my heart and it was so crazy (such a God thing) to read your similar struggle ❤️

  18. Gwineth52 says:

    Dear Shaena Elizabeth…Your closing prayer as posted spoke to me (mind, heart,soul) this morning. Where you said… “Lord, help me to walk in obedience…Search my heart & strip away any self-serving motives…[may any] good works of my hands glorify you”. I am weak, vulnerable, broken, hurting. But Jesus seeks me, claims me, comforts me, frees me from my fool-hearted-ness. Or as the Lord God declares in Ezekiel, my “hard-heartedness”. Sweet Jesus, please purify my motives. Shatter my false idols. Lighten my spirit. Reprove my stubborn nature. I surrender all. Giving you the praise. Knowing you long to grant me a “heart of flesh”. Thanks be to God.

  19. Karen Valente says:

    Oh I just LOVE the 23rd Psalm! ❤️

  20. Suzie Bates says:

    @ Alexandra Mamedow ~

  21. Suzie Bates says:

    I hear your exhausted spirit dear one… thank you for being vulnerable to share. Keep in tune with that and encourage you to read some good materials about what a healthy relationship should be with a boyfriend; future fiancé and eventually a spouse. Prayers for clarity and discernment for you to see what could be underlying things as to why this relationship is creating you to feel exhausted. Please don’t place all the weight of that upon yourself. Prayin4u and here’s some excellent materials that have helped similar woman and men who’ve have shared similar things & patterns of what you shared:
    Is it Me? By Natalie Hoffman
    Relationships That Work (and those that don’t) by H. Norman Wright

  22. Traci Gendron says:

    I am so grateful for a God that seeks out His sheep. He will not leave us. Please dear Lord help me keep my eyes looking up!

    Please pray for a dental procedure that was moved to tomorrow. I’m a bit of a chicken. Although I know that God will comfort me through it. Thank you ladies.

  23. Allison Sherwood says:

    I can almost hear the words of Ezekiel like an angry, protective father who gave his children to protectors who ended up getting them hurt and lost. There is so much love in His words and His desire to have us live abundantly in His presence!

  24. Donna Wolcott says:

    This lamb is grateful to her Lord and Savior!

  25. Siobhan Martindale says:

    Love this devotional today. We are vulnerable and susceptible to so much sin and turmoil but thanks be to GOD that we have the most wonderfully good shepherd in JESUS.

  26. Mari V says:

    Our God pays attention to our needs! I have what I need. Prayers are appreciated right now. I didn’t post yesterday as time got away from me. My son is on a solo trip in celebration of his 21st birthday. He is a great son! Please pray for his safety. He is staying at campsites and I know that some of them there’s no reception and I haven’t heard from him since yesterday morning. But I could see his location yesterday early afternoon but after that nothing.

  27. Kathy A says:

    Praying for you Dorothy, for your sister and Finley and her son. May God comfort you, give you strength and wisdom. Praying he lets you lie down in a rich pasture today, and give you rest.
    Also praying for you Alexandra. As hard as it is, (and we have all been there, it’s excruciating!!), time away might be helpful, seek opinions from trusted people who love and know you (I pray you really hear what they say). Rest assured God has a plan, even if it doesn’t look like you thought it would, it is always better than the plans we think we want. Praying for strength and peace!

  28. Ashleigh H says:

    I accidentally hit the enter button too soon. I am grateful for today’s reading and devotional. I’m even more grateful for a God who will not leave his sheep scattered, lost, abused, and mistreated. He will find them. He even sent his only Son to save all and Scripture affirms this through Jesus. Our Good Shepherd will leave the herd to seek the one who got lost. Thank you, God.

  29. Ashleigh H says:

    I am grateful for today’s devotional which felt like a respite in the harder readings of Ezekiel.

  30. Rhonda J. says:

    @Dorthy Oh my gosh, so sorry to hear this happening with your sister Carol! She has been through so much, it makes me so sad for her. Thankfully she has you! I can’t remember if she is a believer or not, I just remember she has been in distress since the death of her daughter and issues with her son in jail. So I pray for her to look to the good Shepard to bring her out of this hole. I pray she will HEAR something you say that finally clicks. I pray for you Sister, to have the strength and perseverance with your family, to keep strong to show the Love of Jesus, and to be their place of wisdom. Praying for Finley too. You have your hands full, but I pray for spaces of refreshing and of course peace, that it is all in God’s hands.

    @Alexandra- Praying for wisdom and guidance. I know it is hard to move on from one of these relationships, something just grips you to keep you there. But the Lord has something better waiting for you!

    @Jenny- Glad you decided to comment today!

    @Sharon and @jenniferlovesjesus- Love your words today. I too have a child that is rooted in the Lord, but as he gets older, I’m not sure how important it is to him. I can only hope the Shepard will gather him back to Him.

    SHE”S – Hope you all have a good day. Please feel encouraged to share your burdens here in confidence that you have prayer warriors that want to raise your troubles and sorrows and fears to the One- The ONLY ONE that can work all things for His good! Listen to this week’s Podcast! So good!

  31. Heidi V says:

    @Alexandra Mamedow. Praying you feel the Peace that only Jesus gives and that you clearly feel discernment. From your post it seems that you already know the only true path ahead is the one God has chosen for you. However scary it is just know that God will absolutely equip and stay with you every step of the way. None of us She’s here know your situation enough to have an opinion regarding staying or going but a trusted minister, family member, friend or counselor may be able to help you discern where God is leading you. The Good Shepherd will come through and He is the ultimate example of setting good boundaries. Psalm 73:23 You are continually with me, you hold me by my right hand.

  32. Ally M says:

    I am so, so, SO grateful that God sought me out- the really lost sheep. The one that ran away rebelliously and stubbornly. God pursued me and patiently restored me. I will never forget the day, the moment, when the scales fell from my eyes and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God is real, the Bible is Truth, and that there was absolutely nothing-nothing- that I could ever do to save myself. The feeling of helplessness that I experienced in that moment was a new level of panic that transcended anything I had ever felt.
    But God.
    But God sent Jesus to do what we can’t do. To save us from that despair that we are sinners and helpless and dead in our sins. Jesus stretched out His arms for us and He embraced me in that moment and saved me. I love Psalm 23:1- “The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.” I truly and completely believe that. God is with me; what more can I want? How can I ask for more? What earthly things can possibly even begin to compare with the joy of eternity with God? I fall on my knees in worship and thanksgiving and praise. Let us live out today with that joy. Let us share the good news. We have all that we could ever ask for and more. Thanks be to God.

  33. Sonja Cox says:

    So thankful we have a GOOD SHEPHERD who leads us and guides us and protects us till we are all finally home one day! Praise the Lord.

  34. Morgan Latham says:

    I’m so glad God is the Shepherd of my life. Lord, lead me and I will follow.

  35. Tonja Bohling says:


  36. Ellen Morris says:


  37. Maria Baer says:

    14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, – John 10:14 I am so thankful for this grace, that God loves us and knows us. There is tremendous comfort in this.

  38. Jenny Somers says:

    Good morning sisters – this is my first comment, though I read through your thoughts and requests most mornings. What a relief today’s reading is for me/us. 3:27 “They will live securely, and no one will frighten them.” I needed that this morning. In the face of all of the uncertainty in the world and our own lives, may we rest secure in the knowledge that the Lord is with us and sees us and protects us. He is a good God.

  39. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    I am forever grateful that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who searches for His sheep! I think back to a time long, long ago – that I was so far away from God. It was my own choosing, my own bad decisions. But even when I was “scattered” I knew He was there. I fought His presence, I fought the conviction of the Holy Spirit – but God never let me go! He sought me until I turned back to Him! I am His, and He is mine – forever!! This gives me hope when I think of my two sons, who when they were very young – accepted the Lord as their savior. But, as they grew older they grew farther and farther away from Him. I will not give up hope, I will not stop praying because if they were truly His – He will never let them go! “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture…I am your God.” Ezekiel 34:31

    Praying for your requests as I read through them. May God answer, according to His will.

    Have a blessed Tuesday!

  40. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    The old testament backdrop of shepherds and sheep brings beautiful depth and insight as Jesus is cast into this role. In Mark 6:34 Jesus is teaching and feeding His sheep many things. Yahweh says “I myself will search for My sheep and will seek them out. I will seek My sheep. I will rescue them. I will bring them out… I will feed them.” (Ezek 34). The NT writers were clear in equating Jesus with God, God as supreme Shepherd. Jesus came, found and fed His sheep. And He will return to judge between the sheep and goats, and even between the sheep and sheep in the Second Coming. Only the sheep who follow the Davidic Shepherd are grafted into the remnant, the stump of Jesse, the Branch, the new Edenic Tree. Jesus came to deliver from bad leadership, bad shepherds. We dwell securely in the land now because we have our Good Shepherd keeping His flock together as we travel through this land. Ezekiel 34 describes the now and not yet between Pentecost and the new Eden. I rest in the comfort of “dwelling securely” until Jesus returns for me. For us. We can count on the promise of restoration with the easy yoke of Jesus upon us. I walk freely and lightly with Him. Thank You and amen. Maranatha… the now and not yet amen is in view.

  41. Latrice Zebouchi says:

    Thoroughly enjoying this lesson. Am so great

  42. Stormi Messmer says:


  43. Angie says:

    Thank you Good Shepherd. I love you.

  44. SEARCHING says:

    DOROTHY – praying for Carol, Jake, Finley (and her family) and you!

    ALEXANDRA MAMEDOW – praying for wisdom and clarity to see the right path. The first thing that came to mind was 1st Corinthians 13 … 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (NIV)
    I pray that you continue to seek the Lord’s will for your life and whether this relationship should be continued, and share something from many years ago – that while dating, both people are focused on putting their best foot forward, fueled by being “in love” and in some ways, this is giddiness is the peak of those “in love” feelings. As the giddiness fades and is replaced by “real” life, really loving someone comes from deep down, making that choice everyday with God’s help, serving the other person and remembering those words, that love is kind, not proud, keeps no record of wrongs, not sweating the small stuff, keeping the Lord as an integral part of the relationship.

  45. Kelly (NEO) says:

    DOROTHY – praying❣

  46. Kelly (NEO) says:

    Thank You, Good Shepherd for seeking this straying sheep. You provide all I need. Forgive me for wandering. Draw me closer to You.

    Alexandra Mamedow – praying for your relationship. May the Lord give you wisdom. You may want to consider sone counciling for you or as a couple. Sometimes an outside voice can help you navigate your situation.

  47. Dorothy says:

    Sisters, I come to you asking for prayer for both Finley and my sister, Carol.
    Finley is going to start a new medication that will hopefully help slow the drainage of her wound and help it heal. If this medication doesn’t start to work over the next 48 hours then they will seriously have to consider doing surgery again.
    I had to take Carol to the hospital yesterday afternoon. I went by her house to check on her because she wasn’t answering my text and her son was out of jail and answered the door. He told me she needed to go to the hospital. I found out she had been drinking again, hadn’t been eating and hadn’t had anything to drink except the alcohol for 3 days. I took her to the hospital ER and they admitted her. Her heart rate was up. Her lungs didn’t sound good. She said she had fallen and hit her head so they did an MRI of her head and found out she had had some mini strokes — probably d/t the long term drinking. I was with her for about 6 hours and am mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had to read my devotion to destress and be able to go to sleep.
    Sisters, be blessed and let someone know how much you care about them today.

  48. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    My head and heart are spinning after todays reading! I feel convicted to seek the lost, strengthen the weak, bind up the broken/injured….I am on fire to help God in the work of the kingdom! But then there is that voice that ask me…how can you strengthen the weak? You are weak…how can you seek the lost? You are lost…how can you bind up the broken? You are broken….then I remember that yes I am weak, lost and broken…but God! He is my good shepherd who rescued me from my wandering, weak and broken nature so that I can join him in the restoration work thus side of heaven. I can seek the lost, strengthen the weak and bind up the broken not in my own strength but by His strength through me! He is the ultimate good shepherd so I can join Him in His mission for His glory. Lord help me to walk in obedience with you every moment of every day….search my heart and strip away any self serving motives so that all the good works of my hands bring glory and honor to you alone amen❤️

  49. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    My head and heart are spinning after todays reading! I feel convicted to seek the lost, strengthen the weak, bind up the broken/injured….I am on fire to help God in the work of the kingdom! But then there is that voice that ask me…how can you strengthen the weak? You are weak…how can you seek the lost? You are lost…how can you bind up the broken? You are broken….then I remember that yes I am weak, lost and broken…but God! He is my good shepherd who rescued me from my wandering, weak and broken nature so that I can join him in the restoration work thus side of heaven. I can seek the lost, strengthen the weak and bind up the broken not in my own strength but by His strength to me!

  50. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    ALEXANDRA MAMEDOW praying for you to find peace that surpasses understanding, for the Holy Spirit to fill you with wisdom and strengthen your faith so you can walk in obedience the path the Lord has set out for you. I can hear in your post a desire to follow the Lord with all your heart ❤️

  51. Heather Marsden says:

    Be willing to lay it at the Good Shepherds feet. Walk away. Love should not be that hard or controlling. If it’s not sitting right with your Spirit- acknowledge that and be willing to let

  52. Karen Roper says:

    Amen. I am glad that Jesus watches over me❤️❤️

  53. Alexandra Mamedow says:

    I need the good shepherd to come through. The relationship with my boyfriend has been so hard. I just feel exhausted. It’s my first relationship, I’m 28. He’s a perfectionist. I’ve lived through my fair share of hardship growing up and embrace imperfections. He seems to be analyzing everything and is overwhelmed at work and with expectations between us and wonders if we’re the right fit. I felt God speak clearly to me about this but it’s so hard and straining. I’d really appreciate prayer.