Rejoicing in the Promised Shepherd-King

The Shepherd — Ezekiel 34

One of the scary facts about life is that a bad leader can greatly damage to a nation and its people. People don’t want their lives in the hands of people who don’t know their needs and seem only out to help themselves!

The book of Ezekiel chronicles the horrific consequences of Israel’s bad leadership. Israel had been taken captive by Babylon. Jerusalem had been pillaged, and many began to doubt God’s care for His people. God’s promises to bless Abraham and to crown an everlasting Davidic king in seemed like wishful thinking, or even a lie.

Ezekiel 34 diagnoses the leadership problem, lambasting Israel’s leadership for failing to care for God’s flock and only being out for themselves (Ezekiel 34:2). Instead of caring for the weak, sick, injured, or stray sheep, leaders ruled violently and with cruelty, leaving Israel to become food for the wild animals. This selfish and corrupt leadership kindled the anger of God enough to say, “I am against the shepherds. I will demand My flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock.” (10).

When God’s appointed leaders fail, He took matters into His own hands and promised a future leader, His “servant David”, to make a covenant of peace between God and His people (25), bring “showers of blessing” (26), create peace and prosperity (28–29), and usher in God’s glorious presence for His people (30–31).

Oh, how we need such a shepherd!

The Coming of the Promised Shepherd King

Six centuries after the initial promise, the Davidic Shepherd-King finally arrives in the person of Jesus Christ, and His coming couldn’t be better news for a vulnerable world longing for a good leader.

With the words of John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd”, Jesus identifies as the promised Shepherd-King who would feed His sheep lasting food, care for and protect the sheep entrusted to Him, seek out lost sheep (John 10:16), and know His sheep intimately (John 10:14). Far from fattening Himself by feasting on the sheep, this Shepherd provides spiritual nourishment to the vast multitudes that draw near to Him (Mark 6:30–44) and loves them so much that He laid down His very life (John 10:11).

Jesus Christ: Our Good Shepherd

We all have moments where God’s promises seem too good to be true. But as we ponder how Christ cares for us each day, we will see just how great and glorious His coming into the world is.

  • When it seems like God has abandoned you, trust that Christ, “God with us”, has sought you out and signed a covenant with His own blood, bringing peace with God and His comforting presence.
  • When you don’t know what to think in our truth-starved, relativistic world, listen to the Good Shepherd who speaks eternal truths to His sheep.
  • When you feel like no one cares for you, draw near to Christ your shepherd who knows you intimately and loves you enough to lay down His life for you (John 10:15).
  • When the world’s many dangers bring fear, rejoice that He will protect you from the worst spiritual assaults, bring perfect justice to the false shepherds and that He will not let anybody or anything separate you from His love.
  • When you feel like you can’t go on spiritually, the Bread of Life will satisfy your hungry souls by leading us beside still waters and green pastures (Psalm 23:2–3).

God has not left us helpless!

The Good Shepherd Jesus Christ, through His Word and Spirit, and through the care of faithful pastors and leaders, provides for us more richly than we could ever imagine. Let us give glory to Him!

Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.