Reading: Ezekiel 34: 20-24
Verse 22: “I will save my flock and they will no longer be plundered”.
Ezekiel is writing to a people who are discouraged and downtrodden. They feel like the sheep he is describing who are lean, weak, and driven away. The Israelites have been in exile for many years. The years have separated them from each other and many of them from their faith. Even those who did not go into exile have become mixed in with the people living around them. Ezekiel looks at the people and sees their deep need for a shepherd to rise up who will gather the scattered flock, protecting the weak and poor among them while ruling with justice, compassion, and love.
The need for a good shepherd is very real today. On a personal level, we need one to walk the walk of faith. Our inner bent towards sin is in almost constant need of the voice of the good shepherd to guide is on the right path and to keep us from wandering off of the narrow way. We also need the good shepherd to lead us where we should go at times – to those green pastures. As we follow Jesus and His teachings and example, we are following the one true good shepherd. As we follow, we in turn open ourselves up more and more to the voice of the good shepherd as we feel the nudges and hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
This voice calls us to the least and the lost. It calls us to those who do not know the good shepherd. The lost are wandering around in the darkness, going from one thing to another, never finding what they truly need. Others are marginalized and struggle in the simple day to day of life. The Holy Spirit calls us to them as well. The least often cannot begin to hear the voice of the good shepherd calling out to them until their basic needs are met. The need for shelter, food, and safety must be met before there is space for the good shepherd to speak into their lives.
The Good Shepherd says, “I will save my flock and they will no longer be plundered”. He says this to us in our times of need and encouragement. He calls us to help bring this message to those who are hurting and broken and lost and discouraged. Are we willing?