Sunday, March 14, 2010
Shepherds of Israel
In Ezekiel 34: 11-12 it is written: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds: woe be unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock."
This description could be applied with several layers of meaning. However, the one I like best is the interpretation which relates "feeding" to teaching truths. Shepherds were given the calling of teaching the "flocks" of Israel higher truths which would exalt them. However, they instead focused their ministry upon things which were trivial, did not raise the inner lives of the "flocks," and stirred up those who followed them into envy and strife. These shepherds were unworthy, condemned with the pronouncement of "woe" upon them and warned by the prophet.
Fortunately, Ezekiel's message goes on to promise that in the latter-days the Lord will "both search [His] sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." (34: 11-12.) We are in that latter-day time now. He is seeking. But notice that throughout the description of His latter-day work, He alone takes credit for finding and feeding. (34: 13-17.)
When He has gathered enough to establish again His kingdom, He will then make a new day in which "my servant David" will be the "one shepherd" over them, in that Millennial Day. (34: 22-24.)
We're supposed to be getting gathered now in anticipation of becoming numerous enough for there to be a Millennial King provided for us. We're supposed to be in contact with the Lord as He alone gathers us in this latter-day. It is a glorious vision for which we should rejoice.