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The Bad Shepherds & The Good Shepherd-Part 1

Discussion in 'Bible Study Forum' started by Green Lantern, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern New Member

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    Ezekiel 34:1-10 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. 7 " 'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.Throughout Scripture, we see the image of the shepherd. Now, I don't know a great deal about the importance of shepherds to the ancient Jewish ecomony, but I know enough about the spiritual importance of them throughout both the OT & the NT. This first section of these verses deals with the bad "shepherds" of Israel & Judah, during Ezekiel's time. Throughout Jewish history, we have seen leaders of Israel & Judah, both good & bad. The Good ones include Rebekkah, Hezikiah, & Soloman. The bad ones include Rehoboam, Abidja, & Nadab. I can't help but read this first section of Ezekiel 34, & as much as it DOES refer to the bad rulers of Israel & Judah, I really see it referring to the Pharasees & Saducees of Jesus' time. They certainly lived much more prosperously than the people who they were supposed to be leading! This is true is several cases in the NT, particularly in Matthew 7:1-2, where we read:Matthew 7:1-2:"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. These verses are certainly true of the early Jewish leaders, although it dos not directly mention them. Jesus Himself, called the Jewish leaders hypocrites more than once, as we see in Matthew 23:13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying toMatthew 23:15"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.Matthew 23:23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.Matthew 23:25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.Matthew 23:27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.And Matthew 23:29"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.They only cared about their own standing among the Jewish people, Matthew 23:5, 27"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments......Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.Giving their tithes, but negelcting the treatment OF the Jewish people,Matthew 23:23 & 25Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.....................Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.And what is the future of these bad shepherds? Ezekiel 34:10This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.I just thought of sopmething-that these verses don't just apply to the Jewish leaders, but to all leaders throughout time.Scripture also talks about how we should submit ourselves to those in authority,Hebrews 13:17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.Yet, God DOES remove those leaders, who are bad for the people that He loves-those "shepherds" who have NOT shown compassion to ALL the people, & only thought of themselves. In history we see this with so many of the Roman leaders, & in modern times, we have seen this with such leaders as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, & Hussein. Just as they were removed from power, so to, ultimatly were the Jewish leaders of Israel, as we see in history, with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, in 70 A.D! Even though Satan will raise up 2 armies to fight against God, one, through his leaders, the antichrist, & false prophet-Revelation 19:19-21Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.And then lead by Satan himself, in Revelation 20:7-10 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.Jesus WILL remove him from power as well. No 'bad" shepherd has lasted forever, & those people under them WILL be rescued.Bill [​IMG]
     
  2. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern New Member

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    i]Ezekiel 34:11-31 (New International Version) 11 " 'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. 17 " 'As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 20 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. 25 " 'I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD. 31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "[/i]Here we see a very distinct truth: that when it comes right down to it, there really IS only ONE Good Shepherd-God Himself! In verses 11-13, we can certainly see, that He is talking about the Nation of Israel, & what happened in 1948, when Israel became a state. I don't think, though, that it would be too far out of line, if I said that that I also see it as a future gathering of all the saints together in God's kingdom as well.In verse 12, where it talks about the sheep being scattered, we can see the picture of being brought back into the family of God. Clouds & darkness, certainly could refer to the darkness that we were in , when we were still in sin, & how we came into God's light, when we chose to follow Christ. Verses 14-15 use a word that we don't really see a lot of use in today's world-the word "tend". I see this word as meaning to take care of, or to make sure that all is provided for the sheep. GOOD shepherds, always find proper grazing lands for their sheep. But I think that probably the most loving picture that I see here, are in the words "I will tend". Here is the God, who created the entire universe, showing absolute love & compassion for his lost "sheep!" "SOVERIGN LORD", makes it very clear to us that God is INDEED above all other gods.Now, I find verse 16 very interesting. It is so reminiscent of Luke 19:10:For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.", about how Jesus states, quite honestly, WHY He came to earth in the first place-to seek us, who were mired in sin, like the lost lamb. "ROUNDING UP THE INJURED", could refer to the physical healings that Jesus did. "STRENGTHEN THE WEAK", could refer to God giving us the strength to obey His will & follow Him, & having the ability to do whatever he commands us to do, such as we see inPhillipians 4:13I can do everything through him who gives me strength..Finally, we see where God is saying that he is a "fair shepherd". That no one will have more "power", than anyone else. I see this as meaning that under God, ALL of us are equal.Now-in verse 17, we see a very stark analogy to what we read in Matthew 25:33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.,where Christ will seperate Believers from unbelievers for Judgement.Vreses 18-20, shows the injustice of the strong towards the weak, just as the ancient Jewish leaders were towards the the people. InMatthew 5:3-12 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you., we see that the poor, both physically & spiritually, are actually blessed, because they KNOW their future-the kingdom of Heaven! And this certainly applies to us as well-that though we may be going through some hard times, we DO have a blessed hope, that our persucuters DON'T have!Verses 23-24, show that David was the perfect choice as a ruler, because of his knowledge from being a shepherd-he would know how to take care of a people, just as he knew how to cake care of a flock of sheep. It very much seems that David was the first person in Scripture, to actually be referred to AS a shepherd of the people.And finally, from verses 25 on, we see God's love for ALL of us sheep! He provides for us-(Verses 26-27, cf Psalm 37:25) & He frees us from the "yoke" of sin-(verse 28, cf Romans 6:6), & he conforts us-(Psalm 23:4 & 1 Timothy 1:7)He provides a home for us-(Verse 29, cf John 14:2, & 1 John 5:13)We will forever dwell in His presence-(Pslam 23:6) {although God specifically mentions Israel here, we know that it DOES include us as well, as "adopted" childrenof God-Romans 8:23}Finally, in verse 31, we see the truth that NO MAN can EVER take away the fact, that we ARE God's people, & He IS our God. We see this truth so beautifully talked about in Romans 8:35-3935Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."[a] 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Bill [​IMG]
     
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