My reading in Scripture this morning took me to Ezekiel 34, a passage that beings with a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel. The way the chapter concludes reminded me of other passages about the One who is shepherding us. I offer them without comment for your reflection.
The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside peaceful waters.
He renews my soul.
He guides me along the paths of righteousness
for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the dark valley of death,
because you are with me, I fear no harm.
Your rod and your staff give me courage.
You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows.
Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life,
and I will remain in the LORD’s house for days without end.
Ezekiel 34.11-16, 23-24
This is what the Almighty LORD says: I will search for my sheep myself, and I will look after them. As a shepherd looks after his flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so I will look after my sheep. I will rescue them on a cloudy and gloomy day from every place where they have been scattered. I will bring them out from the nations, gather them from the countries, and bring them to their own land. I will take care of them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in good pasture, and they will graze on the mountains of Israel. They will rest on the good land where they graze, and they will feed on the best pastures in the mountains of Israel. I will take care of my sheep and lead them to rest, declares the Almighty LORD. I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that have strayed away, bandage those that are injured, and strengthen those that are sick. I will destroy those that are fat and strong. I will take care of my sheep fairly. . . . Then I will place One Shepherd over them, my servant David, and he will take care of them. He will take care of them and be their shepherd. I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be their prince. I, the LORD have spoken.
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep. A hired hand isn’t a shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep. When he sees a wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and quickly runs away. So the wolf drags the sheep away and scatters the flock. The hired hand is concerned about what he’s going to get paid and not about the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep as my Father knows me. My sheep know me as I know the Father. So I give my life for my sheep. I also have other sheep that are not from this pen. I must lead them. They, too, will respond to my voice. So they will be one flock with one shepherd. The Father loves me because I give my life in order to take it back again. No one takes it from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do.
1 Peter 2.21-25
God called you to endure suffering because Christ suffered for you. He left you an example so that you could follow in his footsteps. Christ never committed any sin. He never spoke deceitfully. Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn’t make any threats but left everything to the One who judges fairly. Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you. You were like lost sheep. Now you have come back to the Shepherd and Bishop of your lives.
Because the Lord Jesus thinks on me. In my time of need, he is my health and life.
Because the grace of our Savior has overflowed for our family.
Because God has been using the physical sufferings of others to encourage me to repent and believe the Gospel. My friend Brad Baugham recently testified for his church to the truths that have been nourishing him through his time of unexplained illness. It’s worth your attention.
Because our oldest daughter started Kindergarten last week. Is that even possible?
That God would shine the light of the gospel into the hearts of my doctor and nurses.
That today’s treatment would be effective, uneventful, and an opportunity for God to glorify himself.
That the Lord would continue to pour out his grace on our family.