August 2022 Featured Article
Many times the prophets in the old testament called out the leaders for leading the nation astray. Countless kings and priests—people who were meant to be leading the people towards God—are chastised again and again for setting a path for the nation away from God.
There were leaders who honored God and slowed the inevitable demise, but soon enough the next king would bring in a reign of backsliding once more. Certainly, each man and woman made the choice whether to follow God or go away from Him, but having a godly person in leadership does help shape the path.
In Ezekiel 34, God calls out the leaders for directing His people astray. The shepherds are brought to light for taking care of themselves and living in luxury at the expense of those they were called to protect, while ignoring the physical and spiritual needs of the people.
The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost…Thus says the LORD God: “Indeed, I myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” ~Ezekiel 34:4,11 NKJV
I can’t help but think of another Shepherd who came five-hundred years later.
One who strengthened the weak.
Healed the sick.
Bound up the broken.
Brought back what was driven away.
Sought the lost.
This Shepherd wept over the people because they were scattered and in chaos, like sheep without a shepherd. People who had been mistreated by those who were supposed to be responsible for them.
This Leader put the needs of the people above His own needs.
This God came down from His throne, debasing Himself to live in the flesh of a mortal for the sake of restoring me.
For the chance to make things right for you.
Let’s take it a step farther.
If we as Christ’s followers are meant to imitate Him, doesn’t that serve to reason that we should be acting like trustworthy shepherds? He commanded His disciples to tend to His flock. He gave His followers the ability to heal and to bring back the lost. We are charged with bringing Peace to those around us.
The challenge is not easy. In many ways it is dangerous, but with the Good Shepherd leading the way, I am confident of this very thing: that He who began a good work in us is faithful and will bring it to completion.
Who do feel the Lord has placed in your life that you can shepherd?