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Archive for September 18th, 2017


Ezekiel 34: Parable of the Shepherds – Part I

Bibleplaces.com: Shepherd with Sheep in Shephelah

 Monday, September 18, 2017

Today’s reading is a familiar allegory to those who listen to and read the Word of God.  In the agrarian society of the Old Testament world, we find many references to shepherds and shepherding; and this is natural since sheep’s wool and meat were so important to these people. The writers of ancient texts faithfully record the imagery that means so much to their community.

Through this Old Testament history, we see the image of the watchful shepherd, guiding and guarding his flock; but we also see shepherds who are thieves. Their theft often goes undetected because sheep wander great distances in search of grazing, and so false shepherds continue to stalk the innocent.

It is easy for us to see that the false shepherd is out of touch with the master and with society; but there is also the image of the outcast shepherd who lives on the margins of society. This solitary figure does not feel community or solidarity with anyone. Working and wandering, these nomads perform a task that is integral to the greater society; yet they labor too often alone.

Today, Ezekiel juxtaposes good and false shepherds, sustainers versus ravagers, life-givers versus takers. In this way, Ezekiel poses important questions for us to ponder. Where do we see ourselves in these stories? Where do we see others? Do we lead as good shepherds? Do we follow the Good Shepherd well? What parable of shepherding do we enact with our lives?  

Tomorrow, the shepherds of Psalms.

For more on shepherds, their sheep, and the places they live, click on the image above or visit:  http://www.bibleplaces.com/sheep-shepherds/ 

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 20, 2008.

 

 

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