Day 30

The Shepherds and God’s Flock

from the Ezekiel: Come to Life (Lent 2022) reading plan

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

BY Erin Davis

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! 

Post Comments (53)

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

  1. 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❤️

  2. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Sorry typo, his*

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

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

  4. 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 ❤️

  5. 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.

  6. Karen Valente says:

    Oh I just LOVE the 23rd Psalm! ❤️

  7. Suzie Bates says:

    @ Alexandra Mamedow ~

  8. 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

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