Today’s readings.. (1 Chronicles 24,25), (Ezekiel 34), (Phillipians 1,2)

God sees the people of Israel as his sheep (Ezekiel 34 v.12) and is distressed at the failure of the shepherds to look after his sheep.  This is the message we read in Ezekiel.  The leaders in Israel had failed; they had no spiritual vision, no sense of responsibility. God’s message to them through Ezekiel was, “Ah shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves!  Should not shepherds feed the sheep?” [v.2]
God had also seen the shepherds as watchmen, as we briefly noted yesterday. In Ch.33, the watchmen had not done their job and as a result the people and the watchmen were doomed (v.2-6)  In today’s chapter, as we read on, there is a vision of hope, “I will rescue my flock”, says God, “they shall no longer be a prey … and I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them … and be their shepherd .. and I will make with them a covenant of peace” [v.22-25].  But God has even more to say, with divine vision he is looking even further into the future. “They shall no more be a prey to the nations … they shall dwell securely and none shall make them afraid … and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God … “ [v.28-30]
David’s greater son is Jesus and he teaches the people in his day about the shepherd and the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” [John 10 v.11] The sheep that surrounded him at that time were the people of Israel, but he goes on to say, “Other sheep I have who are not of this fold. I must bring them also … and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” [v.16]
The climax of his teaching on that occasion is, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” [27,28] They will fall asleep until the resurrection, but then, what joy!  Let us know the voice of Jesus, let us beware of “hirelings” (v.12) who think more of “feeding yourselves” as they did in Ezekiel’s time.  Let us read the Bible every day, in that way we feed on good pasture and can become more conscious of “hirelings.”



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