Archive for September 20th, 2017

Ezekiel 34: Parable of the Shepherds – Part III

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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We know the importance of the parables in our lives. These stories point the way when we are lost, and they bring clarity in simple terms when the complexities of life throw too many obstacles in our way.

The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Micah, Zechariah join Ezekiel in describing the two-edged shepherd: the true good shepherd who guides and protects versus the false, oppressive shepherd who abuses and steals.

Isaiah 40:11: He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering his lambs with his arm,
carrying them against his chest,
gently leading the mother sheep. (CJB)

Isaiah 56:11: Greedy dogs, never satisfied —
such are the shepherds, unable to understand;
they all turn to their own way,
each one intent on his own gain.

Jeremiah 3:15: I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. (NRSV)

Jeremiah 23:1: Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord. (NRSV)

The faithful shepherd Amos (1) leaves his flocks and sycamore trees to serve the LORD as a voice calling out for conversion and transformation. These are the words of Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa . . . Amos said, “The Lord roars from Mount Zion; his voice thunders from Jerusalem. The pastures dry up, and the grass on Mount Carmel turns brown.” (GNT) But many ignore the warning.

Micah (5:7) tells us that the remnant will have to abandon false shepherds rulers to rely on God alone. The people of Israel who survive will be like refreshing dew sent by the Lord for many nations, like showers on growing plants. They will depend on God, not people. (GNT)

Zechariah (11:4-5) describes evil shepherds and the fate that awaits them. The Lord my God said to me, “Act the part of the shepherd of a flock of sheep that are going to be butchered. Their owners kill them and go unpunished. They sell the meat and say, ‘Praise the Lord! We are rich!’ Even their own shepherds have no pity on them.” (GNT) That worthless shepherd is doomed! He has abandoned his flock. War will totally destroy his power. His arm will wither, and his right eye will go blind.” (11:17)

After so many warnings, why do we ignore the message? After so many admonitions, why do we continue to hide? After so many cautions, why do we blind our eyes to the parables of these shepherds?

Tomorrow, shepherds in the New Testament.  

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 20, 2008.

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