Today you should read: Ezekiel 34
The high calling of a pastor is not a role or position that I or any other CPC elder/pastor takes lightly. God has graciously given us the opportunity to lead others on His mission and shepherd His flock. In reality, we are all just under-shepherds to the ultimate good shepherd, Jesus. However under-shepherds don’t always shepherd and lead. Sadly, in today’s culture we probably hear more negative stories about pastors then positive ones. Some have an agenda behind these comments and accusations while others are just exposing hypocrisy in one of the most humbling positions one may have. We see a glimpse of this hypocrisy in Ezekiel 34 where God tells Ezekiel to prophesy against the false shepherds of Israel. Shepherds who were all about themselves, feeding themselves, taking care of themselves, clothing themselves, yet disregarding the sheep that God entrusted them with. In fact, when the wolves attacked the shepherd was nowhere in sight, leaving the sheep to be slaughtered or scatter. This happens to often in churches today. When satan attacks, the false shepherd was too busy manipulating, deceiving and creating a kingdom of self when the sheep were left to fend for themselves. The hope we receive is that our God is a just God who promises to not only rescue his sheep (v. 10) but to bring justice to the false shepherds. In light of these reminders, here are some takeaway questions from today’s Scripture.
1. Do we minister for ourselves or for others?
One thing God kept on bringing up in this passage is how the shepherd would constantly feed and clothe themselves instead of the sheep. This is not only easy for a pastor who feels pressure to “produce” like the latest lifeway book seller or top podcaster but it can become common in our personal ministry as well. The church must work together to accomplish the mission but the mission should always revolve around putting others before ourselves in evangelism and discipleship.
2. Do we scatter or let Satan get the best of us when our leaders let us down?
Sadly many people in church lose faith, hope in the church or scatter when a pastor, disciple or leader of influence falls or leaves. We need to bank on God’s promise in this passage that He will never leave us and makes good on His covenant. Sometimes we idolized those previous leaders and other times we are just very hurt from their shortcomings. Either way we have only one true God and a God that wants to heal us in the hurting.
“And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.” –Ezekiel 34:30-31
Posted by: Erik Koliser