Read Ezekiel 34:1-31
The flock of God had been scattered from their promised pasture. God’s people, the Israelites had been conquered. Many of them had been carried off as exiles from their land given them by God. They were taken to Babylon, the home of a pagan people.
But the sheep didn’t just change pasture fields to Babylon because an enemy wolf had herded them off. They had wandered there (v. 6), straying from the God of heaven. We sheep are like that, you know. We are prone to wander and go our own way (Is. 53:6a). With the help of the Spirit of God, each of us must self-shepherd. The Holy Spirit equips us to self-lead so as to curb and reign in our propensity to wander (Gal. 5:16-26).
And as the sheep of Israel wandered, the self-seeking shepherds did nothing to rescue them. The nation’s kings and spiritual leaders treated the people harshly. They neither cared for the weak nor went in search of the wandering. These shepherds cared only for themselves. Leaders must guard against that tendency to feed only themselves, to fuel only their own passions, and to fatten their own bottom line.
But God promised to shepherd His people (v. 11). In fact, He would send an offspring of David (v. 23; 2 Samuel 7:16). He would look after the flock. He would rescue and gather them. He would tend them, bind up the injured, and strengthen the weak. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will do all of this for the lost sheep of Israel.
But our Good Shepherd also does this today with those who follow Him. Though we may wander, He wants to turn us back to Himself. Though earthly leaders may fail us, He never will.
“Gentle Shepherd come and lead us, For we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us, For we need your strength from day to day
There’s no other we can turn to, Who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd come and lead us, For we need to you to help us find our way”