Updated: Aug 31, 2021
AUGUST 30 READINGS...Ezekiel 34:1-36:38
Ezekiel gives a stern warning to the unfaithful shepherds in the nation of Israel. They were guilty of gorging themselves, while starving their sheep. They were supposed to be there leading the sheep, and nurturing them in the way of the Lord. Instead they were using the sheep to become rich and fat. The result of this was that the sheep were scattered in the wilderness, and were vulnerable to being attack by wild animals…they had become easy prey because there was no shepherd to fight off the wild animals. These bad shepherds were only concerned for their own safety and comfort. They were what Jesus called a “hireling” in the New Testament. The shepherd was given a rod and a staff. The staff was to guide the sheep, and if they got in a dangerous place it was used to pull them out to safety. The rod, or club, was used to fight off the wild animals, and keep the sheep safe. A good shepherd guides and protects his sheep. God said he considered all the bad shepherds His enemy…and that He would replace these bad shepherds with good ones. The Lord also gave a warning to the flock…that those who had much, and were strong in the flock needed to stop bullying the weaker, and instead they were to make sure the weaker were taken care of.
Ezekiel goes on to speak of God’s promise to restore Israel. Israel was in the shape it was in because of its rebellion against God. They had gone off into sin, and served other gods. The surrounding nations laughed at Israel and mocked them, and their God. This made God angry. He even promised judgment on Edom for their harsh treatment and even murder of the Israelites. The Lord promises that He will restore the nation of Israel once again, but not because they deserve it. God says He will do this to protect His holy Name. He said when He does this He will show them the greatness of His Name. God also promises to put a new spirit in them, to turn their hearts back to Him. He would repopulate the cities, restore the fields, and protect His people once again. He said that He was once again ready to hear the prayers of Israel and increase their number.
Please share your thoughts from today’s readings. Be careful of hirelings masquerading as the Lord’s shepherds. If they don’t guide the Lord’s sheep in His way and protect them, they are not His shepherds. Take time to thank the Lord for His great grace, He saved you and I for His great Name’s sake.
TOMORROW’S READINGS…Ezekiel 37:1-39:29 & 32:1-16