Prophecy Against the Shepherds of Israel


Text: Ezekiel 34

 

I.         Again, this prophecy is not dated, but it is likely that all of these undated prophecies came shortly after the fall of Jerusalem to explain to Israel why it happened.

II.        This prophecy is directed to the shepherds of Israel - Ezekiel 34:1-6

            A.        These would be the rulers, judges, priests, and elders. The people who had responsibility to care for others under their authority.

                        1.         David was a shepherd, but was given charge of Israel - Psalm 78:70-71; II Samuel 5:2

                        2.         Psalm 80:1 addresses God as the Shepherd of Israel

                        3.         Cyrus as a shepherd - Isaiah 44:28

                        4.         Jeremiah 10:21; 23:1-4

                        5.         Zechariah 11:17

            B.        These people have placed their own wants over the needs of those under their care

                        1.         Those under them starve while they have more than they need - Isaiah 56:11; Zechariah 11:3-8

                        2.         They made no attempts to heal the spiritual wounds - Zechariah 11:15-17

            C.        They ruled by force, something specifically forbidden - Exodus 1:13-14; Leviticus 25:43

            D.        The result was that the people scattered as if they had no shepherds. They became prey for others.

                        1.         I Kings 22:17

                        2.         Matthew 9:36

            E.        Compare with elders in the church - I Peter 5:1-4

III.       God’s response - Ezekiel 34:7-16

            A.        God speaks as the owner of a flock, the chief shepherd

            B.        The wicked shepherds will be removed - Zechariah 10:3

                        1.         Their responsibility will be removed - Jeremiah 13:18-20

                        2.         Elders are to give an account of their actions - Hebrews 13:17

            C.        God will take over the care - Psalm 102:19-20; 72:12-14; Psalm 23

                        1.         God’s sheep were scattered by Babylon (cloudy day) - Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 2:2

                        2.         He will seek out the scattered sheep - Jeremiah 23:3; Psalm 106:47

                        3.         Both Israel and Judah would be gathered - Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3

                        4.         Where the wicked feed only themselves, God will care for His people - Jeremiah 31:12-14; Psalm 23:1-2

                        5.         Gentle care - Isaiah 40:11

                        6.         Ultimately, Jesus came - Luke 19:10; John 10:16

                                    a.         The owner has more care than the hireling - John 10:11-12

                                    b.         Jesus, too, would give care - John 10:9

                                    c.         Jesus came to call the wicked - Mark 2:17

IV.      God addresses the flock, the people of Israel - Ezekiel 34:17-19

            A.        God will act as judge over His flock

                        1.         Just as there will be a final judgment - Matthew 25:32-33

            B.        The people enjoyed the blessings of God, but they did not take care of what God gave them

                        1.         Like those over them, they took what they wanted, but they left nothing for those in poorer circumstances

                        2.         Notice that it is similar to the charge against Pharaoh in Ezekiel 32:2

V.        God will judge between the wealthy and the poor - Ezekiel 34:20-31

            A.        As at the end - Matthew 25:31-46

            B.        There was no care for the weak - Zechariah 11:4-6; Psalm 72:12-14

            C.        A descendant of David would become their one shepherd - Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15-17; John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 2:25

                        1.         Jesus would reign - Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33

            D.        The promise of a new covenant and God being with His people - Jeremiah 31:31-33

                        1.         It would be a covenant of peace - Isaiah 11:6-9; 35:9; Hosea 2:18

            E.        God would abundantly bless His people - Zechariah 8:13

                        1.         God has been willing to do this - Malachi 3:8-12

                        2.         Blessings in Christ - Ephesians 1:3

            F.        They would have safety - Jeremiah 30:10; 46:27; John 10:26-30

            G.        They would be cared for - Isaiah 49:9-10; Matthew 6:25-33

            H.        Then people would recognize God - Psalm 100:3