The Shepherd

Ezekiel was one of the prophets while Israel was captive in Babylon those 70 years. They were under several kings including Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Belshazzar. But God still spoke to his people. He made a tremendous promise to them. No matter how dejected and isolated they felt, God wanted them to know he was still Shepherd. He was going to set a Shepherd for them.

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

When the Lord said this, he meant it. We have his word. Jesus is known as the Good Shepherd; he’s the Shepherd of the sheep. This was not boasting or pretense on his part. God’s people were vulnerable in Babylon. There was a mix of every kind of god in the world going on there. Babylon is present day Iraq and Iran. Here was the cradle of things. The Garden of Eden was planted in this area. Here is where Satan introduced false religions. Anything other than the true “religion of God” is wrong. All the others are counterfeit, stemming from the devil in this area. Mankind worshipped every kind of idol, every kind of idea, even himself. The religion of Egypt put the Pharaoh as a god to be worshipped. Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar thought they were gods. All of these religions tried to make the true God as though he were nothing.

We’re no match for Satan in ourselves. We’re only sheep and sheep need a Shepherd. If we follow a false shepherd we’ll be in trouble. They offer a lie, something unreal; it looks good and people believe it but you’ll never receive what promises they make. Living any old way in today’s society is accepted. That’s what the trend is–do what you want. BUT outside of God there is no other Shepherd. The false shepherd is no shepherd at all. Any other religion is no religion at all. It’s a lie. God stepped in and set Nebuchadnezzar straight. He put him down on all fours eating grass in the field like an animal for seven years. This showed him who he really was and who God is. Man is not something or someone to be worshipped. God said there is only one Shepherd and it’s not a Caesar or king or president or social circle or political party or system of beliefs. I have a book on religions of the world that is much thicker than our Bible.  Go read John 1. The Bible tells us that God was in the beginning and that Jesus, the Word, was there with him. He’s the Shepherd and we don’t need to add or take anything away from it. Why? It’s enough!

Jesus is God’s approved Shepherd. He gave a promise to those who’d follow him. They had wandered from God and were in captivity. He set up a Shepherd for the lost, scattered and beaten down sheep. The Good Shepherd seeks his sheep. He makes green pasture for them. The first message that the Messiah was born went to lowly shepherds not to the king or those in ruler over others. Humble shepherds got the news.

God gave this message about 500 years after King David’s time. The temple was gone. They were out of their country, among strangers. Satan may think he’s on top but there is only one God. As hopeless as it seemed to them, God promised to set up One Shepherd. It happened in the city of David–Bethlehem. Jesus was born through the lineage of David. Mary was a descendant but God was his father. God plainly said he’s send a child of David to be the Good Shepherd. What does a Good Shepherd do? Gives his life for the sheep. He will take care of us. When we cry out, he finds us–seeks us out–and takes us in his arms. He purges and cleanses us enabling us to follow him as our Shepherd. He’ll continue to care for us.

Why just One Shepherd? That’s all that is needed. He tells us not to push other sheeph around. We can treat others better. How we treat others is how we treat the Shepherd. David tells us in Psalms 23 that the Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want. He doesn’t need our help being the Shepherd. He knows how to do his job. Be the best sheep that we can and let him be the Shepherd. We don’t have to be afraid or overcome by anything. The wolves are howling loud. There are a thousand adversaries out, there but the Shepherd can keep them away. When we get hurt and wounded the Shepherd has what we need to be whole. He causes us to benefit from knowing him. Even is our most “blessing-less” day he still feeds us in green pastures, not worn out ones. Follow him.

Lord, I’m weak. He knows that. Lord, I’m easily turned away and broken. He knows that. We’re sheep. Sheep. Sheep. Sheep. All the more reason to just trust the Shepherd. On our own we are nothing. We need Jesus. We never have to be alone. The Shepherd is over us, caring and feeding us. Who is he? The son of David, the son of Mary, the son of Man, the Son of God. His name is Jesus–Savior and Shepherd. It was unto us he came. So what are we waiting for? Come to the Shepherd.

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