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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Ashlee Hickson says:

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

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