“As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are mankind, and I am your God,” declares the Lord God. ~ Ezekiel 34:31 NASB
I should warn you: this is a tough read. There will be no bouquet of flowers, angel sightings, or miracles shared in this post. But, there will be truth. Truth we need to hear. Truth we need to respond to with action.
I’m a working wife and mom in America. I serve in my local church and attend a women’s Bible study on Tuesday nights. I love to sit in solitude and quiet in the morning and be with God, pray, and read my Bible.
Yet, Ezekiel 34 woke me up.
I was getting fat!
Ezekiel is a book of prophecy in the Old Testament. He was sent to speak a tough message to Israel that was not going to be easy to hear.
Are you ready to hear it? Do you think it only applied to ancient Israel? Think again as you read the first part of Ezekiel 34:
Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘This is what the Lord God says: “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should the shepherds not feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. ~ Ezekiel 34:2-3 NASB
It struck me as I read this passage that it had been a long time since I had lunch with a pre-believer. Months have gone by since I last met with a new believer, or a woman who was struggling in her life. Months.
I made time to be with the Lord. I made time to attend church and Bible study. I made time for my family. I was feeding myself! I was getting fat while others were hungry. I was ignoring my job. I was ignoring the flock.
Our job as believers
As Christ-followers, we have a job. Our job is to spread the love and knowledge of Christ to everyone around us. Not just our families or our churches, but everyone.
God wants no one to perish! He wants every single person to come to know Jesus.
As you prepare for Easter, read John 21:15-17 the final chapter in the Gospel of John. In this passage we see the last encounter recorded by John involves Jesus asking Peter, “do you love Me?” three times. Each time, after Peter answers, “yes, I love You,” Jesus responds by telling Peter to feed His sheep! and while Jesus goes on to prophecy specific things to Peter, I believe there’s a message that all of us who carry the name of Christ can take away.
If we love Jesus, we should be willing to spiritually feed others as well.
Do you still feel like Ezekiel’s message was meant only for ancient Israel?
Take a deep breath because God has more to say to us through the prophet:
“Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you searched for the lost; but with force and with violence you have dominated them. They scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every animal of the field and scattered. My flock strayed through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.” ~ Ezekiel 34:4-6 NASB
It’s not just our pastor’s job to shepherd the flock. Every believer is called in one way or another to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:15-16). Every believer has a role to play in caring for people.
The Bible tells us we are like the human body, all parts working in different ways, but all having an important function(1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Perhaps your role is behind the scenes and you clean up the meeting rooms before Sunday school. Or maybe your role is more outgoing as a greeter on Sundays. You might put out the coffee, bring meals to people in need, or lead a small group. Your role might be to pray for the pastor or certain people in your church family.
Stop and think for a minute, what is your role? Have you been diligently pursuing that role?
Some bad and good news
Because I believe in presenting the whole truth of Scripture, I must share the bad news. Read what the Lord said to those shepherds who were not doing their job – bear with me, there is hope at the end:
‘This is what the Lord God says: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them stop tending sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will save My sheep from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.” ~ Ezekiel 34:10 NASB
If we do not tend to the flock God has placed around us, He will no longer use us to grow His Kingdom! Yet, even when we blow it, the Lord will step in to save the lost and heal the sick.
Are you ready for more good news? Check out this next prophecy from Ezekiel:
“Then I will appoint over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.” ~ Ezekiel 34:23-24 NASB
I love, love, love it when the Old Testament points to Jesus! More than 600 years will pass after these words before our Savior is born.
The rest of Ezekiel 34 pours blessing and restoration upon Israel and ends with our main verse for this post: mankind belongs to God and God belongs to mankind.
Are you ready to feed the flock?
As you go about your day, search for the lost, the sick, the broken. When you find them (and you will) do one small thing to help them.
For me, I already know someone who needs help. Today, I will make that phone call. Set up a lunch. Stop feeding myself first. I will feed His sheep because I love Jesus.