Archive for January 14th, 2018

Ezekiel 34: Shepherds and the Prophets – A Reprise

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Félix-Saturnin Brissot de Warville: On the Way Home

Adapted from a reflection written on January 20, 2008, and explored last September. Today we listen to the words of the prophets cajole, warn and call to us.

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: 9-11 shows us that the good shepherd tends to those on the margins of society.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead the mother sheep.

Jeremiah 23:1 reminds us that God sees the deceit of the false shepherd.

“Oh no! The shepherds are destroying and scattering the sheep in my pasture!” says Adonai.

Amos 3:12 tells us that the good shepherd struggles to recover even the remnants of his flock.

Julien Dupré: A Shepherdess Watching Over her Flock

In the same way that a shepherd
    trying to save a lamb from a lion
Manages to recover
    just a pair of legs or the scrap of an ear,
So will little be saved of the Israelites
    who live in Samaria—
A couple of old chairs at most,
    the broken leg of a table.

Micah 5:2-5 reminds us that the good shepherd relies on God’s strength and God’s compassion.

And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

Finally, in describing a world that looks remarkably like Jesus’ world in which a shepherd deceives his sheep for 30 pieces of silver, the prophet Zechariah 11:4-17 describes what happens to evil shepherds.

The Lord says, “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.”

These prophets join Ezekiel as they teach us how to look for both deceitful and genuine shepherds. These prophets predict that although we suffer we will also rejoice. These prophets bring us the confidence we need when we find ourselves in circumstances that offer us no hope.

When we explore these prophecies further, we find the reward joy through sorrow. 

Tomorrow, shepherding in the New Testament . . .

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