God’s Renewing Word of Peace and Justice
Ezekiel 34:11-31: God promises to rescue the people and care for them and be their shepherd.
The Good Shepherd
11 “I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them 12 in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. 13 I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. 14 I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.
16 “I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick; but those that are fat and strong I will destroy, because I am a shepherd who does what is right.
17 “Now then, my flock, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge each of you and separate the good from the bad, the sheep from the goats. 18 Some of you are not satisfied with eating the best grass; you even trample down what you don’t eat! You drink the clear water and muddy what you don’t drink! 19 My other sheep have to eat the grass you trample down and drink the water you muddy.
20 “So now, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge between you strong sheep and the weak sheep. 21 You pushed the sick ones aside and butted them away from the flock. 22 But I will rescue my sheep and not let them be mistreated any more. I will judge each of my sheep and separate the good from the bad. 23 I will give them a king like my servant David to be their one shepherd, and he will take care of them. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and a king like my servant David will be their ruler. I have spoken. 25 I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security. I will get rid of all the dangerous animals in the land, so that my sheep can live safely in the fields and sleep in the forests.
26 “I will bless them and let them live around my sacred hill. There I will bless them with showers of rain when they need it. 27 The trees will bear fruit, the fields will produce crops, and everyone will live in safety on his own land. When I break my people’s chains and set them free from those who made them slaves, then they will know that I am the Lord. 28 The heathen nations will not plunder them any more, and the wild animals will not kill and eat them. They will live in safety, and no one will terrify them. 29 I will give them fertile fields and put an end to hunger in the land. The other nations will not sneer at them any more. 30 Everyone will know that I protect Israel and that they are my people. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.
31 “You, my sheep, the flock that I feed, are my people, and I am your God,” says the Sovereign Lord.
Today’s Key Verse: Ezekiel 34:31
“You, my sheep, the flock that I feed, are my people, and I am your God,” says the Sovereign LORD.
The image of the LORD as a shepherd is common in the Bible (see Genesis 49:24; Psalm 23;1; Isaiah 40:11; John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20). Reread verses 11-16. The “dark, disastrous day” (verse 12) refers to the time when the people were led away as prisoners following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem (586 B.C.). In what ways will God, as shepherd, care for his “sheep”? What words of hope are given in today’s reading? What are your thoughts concerning the image of God as a shepherd?
Sovereign God, you are my shepherd. Thank you for your steadfast love and care, and for feeding me and nourishing me each day with your holy word. Amen.
John 10:1-21: Jesus is the Good Shepherd