Ezekiel

 

Ezekiel Chapter 34

 

  • Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 
  • 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 

This could mean literal feeding and clothing the poor of the people but I believe it is more in line with feeding them spiritual food or the word of God since that is what a pastor or shepherd of the people is supposed to be mainly concerned with. 

This passage concerns the spiritual shepherds of Israel. Because they failed to feed the word of God to the people, the people began to go into idolatry. 

This can happen in the church also. We may create a great separation between clergy and laity so much that the clergy does all the studying and feeding his soul and all the laity gets is rituals, ceremonies and someone interceding for them in rituals without them even coming to the knowledge of Jesus Christ on a one on one basis. 

That may be what some people prefer. We remember the day of Moses when the people did not want God to come into their midst but preferred that Moses go up and communicate with God leaving them a safe distance away. 

I don't think I want someone having to go to God on my behalf besides Jesus Christ. I know that I cannot even get to God without going through Jesus but to have to depend upon an earthly man also is scary. 

It is through Christ that we can now go straight to the heavenly Father without an earthy mediator. Since sin separates us from God though, we must believe in Christ trusting and allowing Him to cleanse us from all sin. 

Now we don't have to depend upon a clergy. God does set up pastors and teachers to help us understand the word and teach us in the way of righteousness and they still will have to answer to God if they do not do that faithfully. They are gifts from God for our edification but they are not channels to God to bring us salvation. They are to be channels to bring us the message of salvation but not the actual salvation. We are saved by our own one on one relationship with God.

Still a pastor must be faithful and not teach only what people want to hear. To feed himself and not his flock would be like studying the word and receiving the truth but when they stand in the pulpit they only give forth what they think the flock want to hear. I call it watered down generic junk food. 

  • Ezekiel 34:3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 

Looks like some of them actually killed those that perhaps didn't go along with all their nonsense. This reminds me of the Roman church during the Middle ages that tortured and killed those that tried to correct the error that the church had gotten into. 

This passage is speaking of Israel though but we can apply this to the church without taking it out of context. These things were written so that we learn from them. We can learn from the mistakes of the Israel congregation of that day and see what happens when they reject truth. 

  • Ezekiel 34:4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 

This shows the true job of a pastor. He is to heal the sick, bind up the wounded, strengthen the diseased, bring back those that are scattered and labor among them with gentleness, not cruelty or force. 

Looks like some of the Middle Aged churches never read these passages. What Israel's pastors did, they did also. It is actual laziness to stop studying, praying and seeking God for the message to give to a congregation and just do rituals and outward religious acts. This is a great chapter to show us what a good pastor should be like. If we don't do these things people will be prey to cults or reject God altogether. 

  • Ezekiel 34:5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 

When a flock of people do not have a faithful shepherd they will stray just like little sheep would stray and become prey to wolves. False teachers would flock in to take over the flock. Cults would attract them using the same truths that the shepherds should be teaching and then the message would change. 

Oh how we need the correcting presence of the Holy Spirit among us. We need the intense fervent study of the word. 

  • Ezekiel 34:6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 

Had the shepherds of Israel done their job right, this destruction by Babylon would never have come. Their lack of teaching the truth caused Israel to wander and be led astray by idolatry and copied after the nations around them. Shepherds are to warn against sin and the things that will harm the soul. Chapter 33 of Ezekiel shows the seriousness of neglecting to warn the wicked. 

  • Ezekiel 34:7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 
  • 8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 

Just like sheep are prey to wolves, people without a faithful shepherd are prey to the wolves in sheep's clothing. 

Here is two ways that people are deceived. 

  1. A false shepherd starts out by teaching a truth but later uses that truth to get them into false doctrine. 
    I'll give an example. There are cults that know the truth about holidays such as Christmas and Easter. When they give this truth to a weak believer and the believer checks this out, they discover that they are speaking the truth and wonder why their own pastors did not warn them of that truth. 
    When they are convinced the new teachers are speaking truth then they learn the lies, such as the lie that there is no hell and that Jesus is not God that came in the flesh and many other things that will destroy their soul. 
    Had the pastors taught them the whole truth and refused to compromise by telling people things they want to hear, their flock would be safe. I've talked to a person who came out of a church and joined a false cult for this very reason. 
    We need to tell our people the truth about the origins of the holidays we keep. Why are we afraid of the truth? The cults are not afraid to teach it but they will tell them lies after they lure them into their clutches by the truth missing from our own messages. 
    We have to quit teaching watered down, people pleasing messages and tell the truth. Some churches even have Christmas parties featuring Santa Claus. Harmless you might say? It is a lie. How can a lie be harmless? As far as possible all our teachings should be truth and not fables even if it is just for fun. If we are found out in a lie, we lose our credibility. 
  2. Another way they can be led astray is when the pastor is not giving them the truth is the danger that they lose their faith in God and follow the world forsaking the assembling together with believers and seeking only the things of this life. They sometimes do that even when a pastor is faithful but there is more of a chance if the pastor feeds himself and neglects the flock. 
  3. Another way is an pastor who has enough good entertainment and watered down messages that he builds a large church. He lives good himself but the people are deceived into thinking they are okay, rich and increased with goods but have need of nothing. 
  4. Then there is a rich pastor with a congregation that has people in it that are poor. They are taught to pay tithes and give when they have barely little to live on while the pastor has all he needs. We must address the literal food in these passages as well as the spiritual. While the main concern is the spiritual food, Jesus also told us to help the poor in His message, "I was hungry and ye gave me no meat" sermon. I know that primarily dealt with nations who did not help His people Israel when they were scattered all over the world and persecuted but I believe it can apply in many cases where the poor are involved especially if those poor are His people who have believed in Him. Those words of Jesus could also mean the message of the gospel when you considered the words Jesus spoke to His disciples about going into the entire world and preaching the gospel.
    If we have plenty, we can't just pray over them and say, "Be ye warmed and filled" and not give them anything if we have it to give. So we know that we must give both the spiritual as well as natural food if we have the natural but never just the food and clothing in this life and never speak of what counts for eternity.

The book of James covers this subject for further study. 

Jim Jones used to be a man that seemed to have a heart for the poor. He fed the hungry and took in people that were needy. He fooled everybody. He later led these people to their deaths. 

If the false shepherds feed their hungry and we do not, how does that make us look? 

  • Ezekiel 34:9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 
  • 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 

God is in the business of removing false shepherds. 

  • Ezekiel 34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 
  • 12 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. 
  • 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 

We return now to the people of Israel to whom most of these passages are directed but we can learn from them and not do the same things or make the same mistakes as the leaders of Israel did. 

This tells of God's re-gathering of Israel from all the nations where they were scattered. 

  • Ezekiel 34:14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 
  • 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 
  • 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 

This passage was partly fulfilled in 1948 in the natural but they still need to be gathered in the spirit. This will occur. There are still many enemies of Israel that are trying to prevent this. 

God is watching. He will gather all Israel and He will bless Israel again with truth and with His presence. This truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right now as a nation they are resisting this but the day will come when Israel finds Jesus Christ as their Messiah. 

Perhaps these false shepherds spoken of here are Rabbis that have not taught them of Jesus Christ but have taught them a message that brings them no salvation. 

I think their message may be more concerned with being happy in this life rather than getting ready to face eternity by repenting of sin and seeking God. The Christian Church may also be guilty of this but let's hope for genuine revival among us so that doesn't happen very much longer.

We need to take care of the poor in a literal sense but the social gospel should never replace the gospel that saves the soul. Usually preaching the right gospel automatically takes care of the poor as they get delivered from their sins, learn to hold down a job and feed their families on their own.

  • Ezekiel 34:17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 

Now God deals with individuals. We are also held accountable for what we do in the flesh. 

  • Ezekiel 34:18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 
  • 19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 
  • 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 
  • 21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; 
  • 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 

Individuals have a responsibility to find the truth and live in righteousness even if their leaders do not do so. We are not to harm our fellow human beings but show kindness in sharing the truth of God's word. We are also to give to those that have need if we have it to give and care for those going astray. We can't just presume this responsibility is for leaders only. 

The truth of the gospel is a responsibility for all of us to do what we can. 

  • Ezekiel 34:23 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. 

This may be speaking of Jesus Christ here unless David himself is one day raised to serve under Jesus over the people of Israel when Jesus returns to reign over the earth. 

  • Ezekiel 34:24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 
  • 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 

No peace plans will ever work before this day comes when Jesus Himself brings in everlasting peace. 

  • Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 

They will have the right amount of rain and sun that their crops will grow abundantly and they shall not only be fed literally but spiritually as well. 

  • Ezekiel 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 

The nations surrounding them will no more be able to rob them of their land and take it away from them. I wish other countries would stop trying to make peace in the Middle East by making Israel give up more land for peace. It is not going to work. 

  • Ezekiel 34:28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 

The word of God cannot lie. Before the coming of the Lord nations will try to remove Israel from their land but after Jesus returns they will get every inch back and the nations that oppressed them will be judged severely by God. Read Revelation. 

  • Ezekiel 34:29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 

Right now anti-Semitism is on the rise and its in the United States. We will be judged by God if we give into this hatred for Israel. 

  • Ezekiel 34:30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 
  • 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD. 

Israel is God's people and His flock. There is nothing the world can do to change that even though it has tried. We can become part of this blessing by receiving Jesus Christ, repenting of sins and giving our lives completely to Him. We become adopted into the vine of Israel by faith in Jesus. We will inherit what they inherit along with them. They too though have to come by way of Jesus Christ. They cannot get rid of sin and obtain God's blessing without Jesus Christ. There is no dual covenant. 

Ezekiel Chapter 35

Ezekiel Index

 
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