Monday, October 1, 2012

a restoring shepherd

For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Ezekiel 34:11-12

A tender metaphor is given by God as He describes His heart for His people Israel. He uses the example of a shepherd's care for his flock to explain His love and His plans for His people. Chapter 34 begins with a scathing denunciation of the leaders of the nation. God accuses them of being evil, self-serving shepherds who have scattered the flock and let it suffer. He pronounces His punishing hand against these greedy and sinful shepherds.

Then the text moves to describe God's shepherding love for His people and His future plans for them. He will regather ALL His people back from the nations. The flock will no longer be scattered among all the gentiles. Obviously, this is still to happen since Jews exist in communities all around the globe today. But the day will come where God will regather them into the land of Israel by His sovereign, shepherding hand.

And the Davidic kingdom will be restored. That is the promise of Ezekiel 34. God would honor His covenant with Israel and with David. Again, in a future restored kingdom, God will be honored through the keeping of the covenant. The plain reading of this text promises this.

God does all this out of His tender love for His people. He is kind and loving and good just because that is His way. He is the shepherd that seeks lost sheep. And He loves to restore lives to bring glory to Himself. He enjoys restoring and saving people.

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