Warnings for Watchmen and Shepherds

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Picture of a shepherd and his sheep

In today’s Bible reading* God issues a warning against the watchmen and shepherds — those entrusted to lead His people — as well as an encouraging word to His sheep.

God warns the watchmen that He will hold them accountable if they do not faithfully deliver words of warning to His people. God warns the shepherds to take care of His sheep. And He promises His sheep that He Himself will be their Shepherd. He Himself will lead them and feed them.

“ ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: Look, I am against the shepherds. I will demand my flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue my flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them. “ ‘For this is what the Lord GOD says: See, I myself will search for my flock and look for them. As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and total darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, and bring them to their own soil. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will tend them in good pasture, and their grazing place will be on Israel’s lofty mountains. There they will lie down in a good grazing place; they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will tend my flock and let them lie down. This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice.
Ezekiel 34:10–16 (CSB)


Reading today’s chapters sounded like a combination of Psalm 23, Jesus’ claim to be the Good Shepherd, and Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. (John 10:1-18, 25-30; Matthew 25:31–34) We see again that God had in mind an immediate fulfillment of the prophecy, as well as a long-term fulfillment.

God says He will fulfill His prophecies for the sake of His Own Name, not for the sake of His people. (Ezekiel 36:20–25 CSB) No longer will His people drag His Name through the mud; He will put His Spirit into His people and cause them to walk according to His ways.

What a glorious thought. What a glorious promise. It’s not about us. It’s not up to us.

It’s about Him. And it’s up to Him.

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
Ezekiel 33
Ezekiel 34
Ezekiel 35
Ezekiel 36

This devotional was originally published on September 7, 2021.

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