Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
Food for Thought:
The image of God as the Good Shepherd is found throughout the Bible. This pastoral language would have been very familiar to the early listeners. They knew what it was like to keep watch of their sheep through the night to make sure that they didn’t get ravaged by wolves or other animals. The New Testament authors picked up on this image and planted it throughout the New Testament, also. Jesus was described as the Good Shepherd sent to care for his sheep. What does this image communicate to you? How do you see your role as a Christian to be a good shepherd to others?
Shepherd of Israel, hear our prayer as your Son heard the plea of the criminal crucified with him. Gather into Christ’s holy reign the broken, the sorrowing, and the sinner, that all may know wholeness, joy, and forgiveness. In your sacred name we pray, Amen.