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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ezekiel 34


Ezekiel Chapter 34

The False Shepherds of Old Israel compared with the Good Shepherd of the New Israel.



Outline: Book of Ezekiel

Brief Outline

Denunciation of Judah and Israel (1-24)
Oracles against foreign nations (25-32)
The future restoration of Israel (33-48)

=============================================

"The 34th chapter of Ezekiel takes up a "shepherd motif."


It begins with a biting indictment against the shepherds of Israel -- those who held positions of responsibility and yet who failed to lead the people in the ways of righteousness.
See verses 1-5
The problem was that the shepherds of Israel were fleecing the flock instead of feeding the flock.

In this midst of this indictment there is a promise. It is a promise that the Lord Himself shall one day take on the role of a shepherd in order to care for His sheep. [See verses11-17]

Notice that the Lord as Shepherd does not come to save the fat and the strong. Those who are self sufficient are destroyed and become partakers of judgment. It is those who recognize their own brokenness and sickness who shall be saved.
This promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Good Shepherd who came to give His life for the sheep. In verse 15 we see the essence of His ministry:

"I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 34:15).

Jesus said this of Himself. He is the One who said, "Come to me, all you who labor, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

But that is not all. Ezekiel goes on to describe the eventual judgment of His flock.

And as for you, My flock, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats." (Ezekiel 34:17).

Jesus foretold this same judgment. But there was a difference. He said that He would be the one who judged between the sheep and the goats. A contradiction? Not at all. When we read of Jesus doing anything, we understand that this is a reference to the actions of the Lord.




Chapter

Outline by Matthew Henry

I. A high charge exhibited against them for their negligence, their unskillfulness, and unfaithfulness in the management of public affairs,
ver. 1-6 and ver. 8.

II. Their discharge from their trust, for their insufficiency and treachery,
ver. 7-10.

III. A gracious promise that God would take care of his flock, though they did not, and that it should not always suffer as it had done by their mal-administrations,
ver. 11-16.

IV. Another charge exhibited against those of the flock that were fat and strong, for the injuries they did to those that were weak and feeble,
ver. 17-22.

V. Another promise that God would in the fulness of time send the Messiah, to be the great and good Shepherd of the sheep, who should redress all grievances and set every thing to rights with the flock,
ver. 23-31.



In verses 1-6 He is told:

1. To preach against the Shepherds of Israel.

2. He is told what to Preach.


34:1
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Note:

The importance of the issue, it is “the word of the Lord!”

59 times this phrase is used in Ezekiel.
50 times in Jeremiah.
46 times in 1 and 2 kings.
10 times in Isaiah.

244 times in the bible.

11 times in the New Testament.

Note:

We ignore the Old Testament at our peril!!!

34:2
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?

“Thus saith the Lord”

372 times in the bible.

372 times in the Old Testament.
0 times in the New Testament.

116 times in the Book of Ezekiel.
33 times in Isaiah.
131 times in Jeremiah.


Note:

This is a prophecy against Shepherds.

Compare Jeremiah 23.

Verse 1 uses the word Pastor.

M. Henry
“God will in a particular manner reckon with them if they be false to their trust.”



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.

Two things in particular are they condemned for.

1. Their goal was self advance themselves.

2. That they took no care of the flock.

Note:

Six things in verses 3 and 4 that these false shepherds did not do.

1. Ye feed not the flock

2. The diseased have ye not strengthened.

3. Neither have ye healed that which was sick.

4. Neither have ye bound up that which was broken.

5. Neither have ye brought again that which was driven away.

6. Neither have ye sought that which was lost.


1 & 2 Building up

3 & 4 Healing

5 & 6 Protecting

These are vital ministries for God’s people.

Note:

The result’s in verse 5 of not carrying out these.




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.



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.

M. Henry
“Better no shepherd than such shepherds. Christ complains that his flock were as sheep having no shepherd, when yet the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses' seat,
Matt. ix. 36. It is ill with the patient when his physician is his worst disease, ill with the flock when the shepherds drive them away and disperse them, by ruling them with force.”


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.

Notice the shift of emphasis in verse 6.

It is “MY SHEEP”

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.

Ezekiel 34:8
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;

Ezekiel 34:10-12
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.
[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.

Ezekiel 34:15
I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.

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.

Ezekiel 34:19
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.

Ezekiel 34:22-24
Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. [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. [24] And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.

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.

Ezekiel 34:30-31
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.

“My Flock” 12 times
“My Sheep” 3 times
“My People” 1 time
“My pasture” 1 time
“My Hill” 1 time
“My Shepherds” 1 time
“My Servant David” 2 times

Note:

God’s number in the Scripture is 7

There are 21 Refs. To “My” in this Chapter.

3 x 7 = 21.

34:7
Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;

The problem is that these Shepherds did not and would not here the word of God.

M. Henry
“Those that will not hear the word of the Lord giving them their direction shall be made to hear the word of the Lord reading them their doom.”


34:8
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;



34:9
Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;



34:10
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.
Maybe the Shepherds could bear with the first half of verse 10 but not with the second.


Note:

The use of the Personal Imperative “I Will”

16 times in this Chapter.

Ezekiel 34:10-11
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.
[11] For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

Ezekiel 34:13-16
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. [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.

Ezekiel 34:20
Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.

Ezekiel 34:22-23
Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. [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.

Ezekiel 34:25-26
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. [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.

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.



The focus now changes from the condemnation of the false Shepherds to the need at hand ie. Gods care for his people.

Verse 11 – 16 show The Lord’s intent to his people.

34:11
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

M. Henry

Note,

Though ministers fail in doing their part, for the good of the church, yet God will not fail in doing his; he will take the flock into his own hand rather than the church shall come short of any kindness he has designed for it. The under-shepherds may prove careless, but the chief Shepherd neither slumbers nor sleeps. They may be false, but God abides faithful.



34:12
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.

Note:

When would this seeking take place?

“in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them”

We must see the fulfilment of this Scripture in John Chapter 10.

Contrast the use of “I Will” in Ezekiel 34 with the “I am’s” of John 10.

John 10:7
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 10:9-11
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. [11] I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:14
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

John 10:36
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?




34:13
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.



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.



34:15
I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.



34:16
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.



Now in verse 17 The Lord directly addresses his people.

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.



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?



34:19
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.



34:20
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.



34:21
Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;



34:22
Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.



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.

Note:

We cannot take this in a literal sense!

David here is none other but the Messiah which is Christ.

Also

Ezekiel 37:24-25
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. [25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.




34:24
And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.



34:25
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.



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.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

4 Aspects to the mercy and grace of God.

Here is sovereign mercy--"I will give them the shower in its season."

1.
Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?--for who can say, "I will give them showers," except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man.
2.
It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down.
3.
Then, it is plenteous grace. "I will send them showers." It does not say, "I will send them drops," but "showers." So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we want plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace.
4.
Again, it is seasonable grace. "I will cause the shower to come down in his season." What is thy season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. "As thy days so shall thy strength be." And here is a varied blessing. "I will give thee showers of blessing." The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God's blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send "showers of blessing." Look up to-day, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.


Now, finally we see the blessed results of this act of God in reaching out to his people.

Verses 27-30

Verse 27.

1. “the tree of the field shall yield her fruit”

2. “the earth shall yield her increase”

3. “they shall be safe in their land”

4. “and shall know that I am the LORD”

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.

Verse 28

5. they shall no more be a prey to the heathen.

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.

Verse 29.

6. “they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land”

7. “neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.”


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.

Verse 30

8. Read whole verse.


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.



34:31
And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.

God is now speaking to you. He wants you to know that all these promises are for you his people.

Amen.

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