“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 shepherd the flock with justice.” Ezekiel 34:11-16
I’m an English teacher by trade, so when I see a pattern in anything I read, I start to take notice. I’ve been reading through the Bible this year, and had never read the full Old Testament book of Ezekiel before, but as I read through Ezekiel 34, I couldn’t help but recall some of my favorite other passages of scripture that talk about shepherds:
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God is so clear in His love for his people.
In his book Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Leland Ryken says it clearly: “Sheep are not only dependent creatures; singularly unintelligent, prone to wandering and unable to find their way to a shepherd even when it is in sight.”
In the same way, we are like sheep. We often think we can live life on our own terms, yet our wanderings lead us far from God and often to places we never intended to go. We have a habit of getting lost, of making a mess of things, and of needing a savior. What good news that we have one.
I love that God so clearly promises us that He will be our shepherd, that He will send His Son Jesus to be our shepherd as well. He never leaves us alone to wander the wilderness of our lives, but leaves to seek us out, cares for our rest and needs, and ultimately lays down his life for our own.
There is no better shepherd, no better source of care and love for our lives. I pray that as you read these passages above today that the words would settle deep in your heart and you’d be reminded of the love and care God has for you. He is a good shepherd, indeed.