My son came home with a current events assignment: write about something important going on in the world today. The teacher included one caveat, it could not pertain to the upcoming election. The divisiveness of our current political climate was to be avoided. The words of Ezekiel could be spoken today, "Thus says the Lord God: 'Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?'" (Ezekiel 34:2).There is nothing new under the sun, and since time began, shepherds have neglected the sheep in pursuit of their own profit.
Ezekiel has been prophetic in the short term; Israel would wander off and be scattered, and were easy prey to the villainous savages surrounding them. Now he speaks of a distant event, "I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd" (Ezekiel 34:23). David, the King, is dead and gone, so Ezekiel could only be speaking of one to come, a son of David. "And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, and when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:35-36).
The people are the sheep, and to Israel who knew well the pasture, this was an unflattering comparison. Sheep are dumb, wander off, follow whomever, and get lost often. "My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them" (Ezekiel 34:6). If these words sound familiar, it is because Jesus makes them his own, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). Turns out, Ezekiel was writing about current events.
Oh Lord, You are my Shepherd, the good Shepherd who rescues me from the slaughter of my own making. I am prone to wander, and You are forever watchful. You prod me and nudge me, and sometimes You just have to pick me up and set me aright. Thank You for caring for me more than I care for myself.
God, may I learn Your ways. May I pick up Your staff, as well, and guide others toward the good Shepherd. May I be ever watchful and care enough to sacrifice myself for the sake of Your sheep.