For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. Ezekiel 34:11
You’ve probably heard the saying “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself” or some variation of it. This saying captures the essence of Ezekiel 34. God through the prophet Ezekiel pronounced His judgment on the shepherds of old. Reading through Ezekiel 34, we catch a glimpse of the enormity of the Lord’s weariness with the appointed rulers of Israel.
He describes their wealth-seeking, self-preserving attitudes and exposes them for the wicked, neglectful shepherds that they had been to His people. Under their leadership His people were oppressed, neglected and scattered. They were unprotected, vulnerable and as a result preyed on by all adversaries. The comparison of what was happening in Israel to the stewardship of a bad shepherd is telling, particularly as we know the characteristics of a good shepherd as David describes in Psalm 23.
Clearly, the Lord was deeply grieved and moved by the pain and ignominious treatment of His people. And for their actions, He promised to call the wicked shepherds into account. He would demand His flock back from them, and in the same chapter, He described His plan to appoint a true shepherd over His sheep.
How thankful are we that He did? The true Shepherd promised to the children of God would be exemplary, unlike any king they ever had. And His mission was to seek, find, redeem, restore and set apart.
Hear the heart of the Lord of Hosts in the following verses:
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Ezekiel 34:11-16
What a marvelous Father we have in God? What a wonderful King He promised? What a shepherd He would send to redeem an undeserving people?
And on the night Jesus Christ was born, our heavenly Father saw to it that His promise came to Israel. He sent His own Son, out of the line of David, to be our good and selfless shepherd. Unlike Israel’s past kings and our current rulers, our Lord was a selfless King who offered His own body up as a sacrifice to redeem us from our sins and from every ill treatment.
He came to earth to gather the flock that has been scattered. He came to search for the lost and seek the strays. He came to bind the injured and strengthen the weak. He came to change the course of our lives and break the ties of oppression. He came so that we can have peace and rest.
That baby in the manger, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate in just a few days, was the long promised deliverance for the children of Israel and all of God’s children who were scattered throughout the nations. Through Him, we finally have peace and rest. We finally have a shepherd who knows all of our needs, worries and aches; One who is did not seek after His own interest.
In Christ, we have a Lord who is for us, truly for us. I praise God for the baby in the manger and the fulfillment of the promise given to us all through the prophet Ezekiel.
Aren’t you glad God sent His own Son to do what no man could?