Ezekiel 34 … Consider His Shepherd’s Heart

For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day,” (Ezekiel 34:11-12).

I wondered if Ezekiel felt the same relief and comfort in speaking this message from the Lord as I did in reading it. Like a breath of fresh air rising above the stench of the wrongdoings of man, finally His promises of restoration come as He tenderly speaks of His flock, as well as His intense disapproval of those who had been given the charge to tend to His sheep.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?” (34:1-2).

And suddenly, scenes from the news I have seen on too many occasions rushed my thoughts. Stories about those who were hired to be loving caretakers for the helpless but had instead abused them, believing they could get away with it. And they would have, except that their actions had been caught and recorded on the infamous nanny cam. Nannies who thought they could get away with their brutish behavior towards the vulnerable, found themselves found out.

And as we know, the LORD Almighty needs no nanny cam, for He sees every human, every heart and every work of man.

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
14 From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works,
(Psalm 33:13-15).

And as He confronts those who had been found out, the shepherds of Israel in their mistreatment of the sheep entrusted to them, He lets it be known that He will do for His sheep what the shepherds had willfully failed to do, revealing His Shepherd’s Heart.

Consider His Shepherd’s Heart

Today’s chapter reveals His Shepherd’s Heart in His strength to defend and protect His sheep, and in His tenderness to lead and feed His sheep; for His Shepherd’s Heart both powerfully preserves and patiently provides for His sheep.

  • His Shepherd’s Heart will deliver His flock from the false shepherds.
    • Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them,”’” (34:7-10).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will deliver and gather His scattered sheep.
    • For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day,” (34:11-12).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will lead His sheep to rich pasture.
    • “I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel,” (34:14).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will lead His sheep to rest.
    • “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God, (34:15).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will seek His lost sheep to bind up and strengthen them.
    • “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment,” (34:16).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will judge between the fat and lean sheep.
    • “As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats… 20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them, “Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, 22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another, ” (34:17, 20-22).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will make a covenant of peace, blessing and plenty with His sheep.
    • “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.26 I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. 27 Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land…” (34:25-27).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will establish a renowned planting place to establish His sheep in freedom, safety and security.
    • “…Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.28 They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore,” (34:27-29).
  • His Shepherd’s Heart will make men know they belong to Him, and that He is their God.
    • “Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people,” declares the Lord God. 31 “As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord God, (34:30-31).

His Shepherd’s Heart had been revealed through His servant David, the man after His own heart, who both cared for and defended His sheep.

He also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance, (Psalm 78:70-71).

But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

And His Shepherd’s Heart promised that He would set One Shepherd over His sheep, One Shepherd from the line of David.

“Then I will set 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,” (34:23-24).

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham, (Matthew 1:1).

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, (2 Timothy 2:8).

and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals,” (Revelation 5:5).

And Jesus Christ came as the Good Shepherd, the perfect fulfillment of every promise, intent, and purpose of His Shepherd’s Heart.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep,” (John 10:11-15).

How do we respond to His Shepherd’s Heart?

Jesus came in both strength and tenderness to deliver His flock from the false shepherds, to gather His scattered sheep to rich pasture and rest, and to bind up and strengthen us, coming as the judge separating the sheep that belong to Him from those who don’t.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,” (Matthew 25:31-32).

When we trust Christ for salvation, we are spared His judgment as He brings the lost sheep into His New Covenant of peace, blessing and plenty so that we would be established in His renowned planting place of freedom, safety, security and joy.

So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing,” (Luke 15:3-5).

And it is His Shepherd’s Heart that seeks out the straying sheep, so much so that He willingly bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we would know through faith that we belong to Him and that He is our God and the Guardian of our souls.

 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls, (1 Peter 2:24-25).

Oh, today, let us follow our Good Shepherd, for He has promised to powerfully preserve us and patiently provide all our needs as we seek His kingdom and trust His Shepherd’s Heart.

“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom,” (Luke 12:29-32).

Let’s Grow Together!

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