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Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. “As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” – Ezekiel 34:11
What a joyful thing to know that God, as our Shepherd pursues us and will care for us through all our days, even the most gloomy ones. We are in a season of life when we really need to hear from God on a time-sensitive matter. There are moments in these days that we strain to hear and wonder if we will. Then a passage, well, a couple of passages, pierces through that momentary silence. Our faith is renewed and riveted on the Good Shepherd…and we wait on Him.
Yesterday, Dave and I were at a leader training through Movement Church. Pastor Cliff led us through this worship exercise. As a group, we stood and read Psalm 23, together and out loud. We read it 5 or 6 times. About the 4th time, he led us to whisper it. I was so moved by this. It was like being with David, the author of the Psalms. I thought of him, possibly whispering these words, as comfort to himself and to his men. Maybe they were in hiding from the murderous hordes of King Saul. Or maybe they were in the quiet of their camp, sorting out the confusing betrayal of David’s son Absalom. I could hear that shepherd-king David, whispering those words to a God who loved him and would never leave him.
Then we read again in a louder voice, almost a battle cry. Then back to regular volume…and done. Done and transformed.
After we finished this, we reflected on the God who shepherds us – who perfectly knows His sheep, faithfully feeds His sheep, leads us and protects us. Psalm 23 points us to that Good Shepherd.
Then Cliff took us to Ezekiel 34. You know those times when you re-read a familiar passage and it’s as if you are reading it for that very first time? That was my experience. To see the glorious unity between Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34 reminded me all over again how I love how God draws us to Himself through His Word.
In Ezekiel 34, the people of God were in a difficult place (vv. 1-10). Those shepherding them at the time did not know these “sheep”. They did not feed the sheep, selfishly caring for their own needs over that of the flock. They did not lead – leaving them to scatter. They did not protect them. It was a timely warning and indictment for us in leadership if we lead without caring for the people as God cares.
Then the prophet Ezekiel spoke a word of deliverance from the Lord to His people (vv. 11-22). God Himself, who knows His sheep, would gather them. He would feed them. He would lead and protect them. We are His sheep, and no matter our circumstances, we can rest in His Word that He will not leave us in our difficult situations alone.
Finally, the Lord speaks into the future of His people (vv. 23-31).
“I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd. I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David will be a prince among them. I, Yahweh, have spoken.” – Ezekiel 24:23-24
King David, who penned Psalm 23, had long since died. There would come One from the lineage of David who would be this Good Shepherd. The Word and Promise of God in human form – this glorious anointed one, Jesus. Thus we are taken from the Psalms through the Prophet Ezekiel to the Gospel of John in the New Testament.
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. “– John 10:14-16
This Sunday morning is bright with promise of a God who shepherds us. As we wait to hear His direction in our lives, we can stand on His promise that He knows us and our need, He will lead us, He will feed us, and He will protect us. If that doesn’t lead us to worship, I don’t know what would.