New leadership promised
Published 2:00 pm Friday, March 6, 2009
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:23-31
Aim: To show that Jesus Christ is the “One Shepherd” to be set up over Jehovah’s people to provide, protect and rule over them.
Golden Text: “And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even my servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23).
This 34th chapter of Ezekiel is a chapter about men that are wicked shepherds, who eat up, abuse and misuse the sheep (the people of God). There is divine judgment promised to the wicked shepherds (Ezekiel 34:1-10).
The latter part of the chapter is about God’s promise to gather His sheep to Himself and install a Shepherd, a second David, to care for His sheep. The wicked will no longer be able to abuse and destroy the sheep. The chapter ends with these words: “And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am you God, saith the Lord God” (vs. 31).
In the Old Testament the people of Israel are called the sheep of Jehovah. In the New Testament Jesus calls all His followers, all true believers in Him, sheep. Jesus Christ is the second David, the promised Great, Good Shepherd (John 10).
I. Wicked shepherds are under the judgment of Jehovah (Ezekiel 34:1-10). There are at least six charges against the false teachers (There are overseers of the people today that fit the same characteristics as these.)
First, they were self-centered (vs. 2). Second, they abused the sheep instead of caring for them (vs. 3). Third, they were indifferent toward the sheep (vs. 4). Fourth, they were cruel to the people (vs. 4b). Fifth, instead of gathering the sheep, they scattered the sheep, sending them away for their Lord and God (vs. 5). Sixth, they refused to search for the sheep that were lost, totally indifferent towards them (vs. 6-8).
As a result the Lord pronounced an accounting, which would result in strict judgment against the false shepherds (vs. 9-10).
II. Jehovah declared that He will gather His sheep from among the peoples of the world (vs. 11-19). He will search them out where ever they were (vs. 11-12). He will separate them from the people who are in all countries (vs. 13). He will give them good pasture (take care of them, vs. 14). He will restore them and bring retribution upon the evil shepherds (15-17).
III. Jehovah will assign them a Good Shepherd who will take care of His people (vs. 20-31). He will judge between His sheep. Those who are sick, those who are mean and destructive, and those who are diseased will be dealt with according to their need (vs. 20-21). This indicates that the Lord will deal properly with each individual according to his sin and need. He deals with each individual. We will do well to remember this truth and live in the light of His judgment.
Jehovah will “save” His flock (vs. 22). The Lord saves sinners and makes them part of His flock.
Second, Jehovah will set a second David, Jesus Christ to be the one Shepherd over His flock (vs. 23, see Golden Text above).
Jehovah and the Shepherd, Jesus Christ, will rule over them, and the Prince will live among the sheep (vs. 24).
Jehovah will make a new covenant with His people, a covenant of grace (vs. 25).
The sheep will live in the “hill of the Lord” and in His land in safety and blessing (vs. 26-29).
What a beautiful prophecy of the coming of Christ, and God’s making the believer His own people with Christ as the Shepherd over them. He will gather all the saints from among the sinful men of the world and plant them in His land, where all will be well with His people. The wicked and evil can hurt them no more (vs. 30-31).
Jehovah God will be their God, and they shall forever be His people, in His pasture (vs. 31).
What a wonderful promise to those who receive Christ!