Focal Passages: Ezekiel 34:2b-6, 11-16, 22-24
The first time I travelled internationally with my son, I remember pointing to our blue passports and saying, “There are people all over the world that would love to have one of those.” It was not my intention to be ethno-centric or to display an over-the-top patriotism. I was pointing out the simple fact that we, as Americans, enjoy a freedom not known in much of the world – a freedom that is often envied and a freedom that is sought after by many.
Too often, our precious freedom is taken for granted. But there is another kind of freedom that is even more precious. And it too is sadly taken for granted much of the time.
Ezekiel 33 contains an explanation of Jerusalem’s fall into Babylonian captivity. Many of the people in Israel misunderstood the warnings. Indeed, they heard the words, but did not put them into practice (Ezekiel 33:31). Some of the worst offenders were those who were supposed to serve and protect the people. Ezekiel 34:2-6 refers to them as “shepherds.”
Rather than guarding the flock entrusted to their care, they worried only about themselves. When the shepherds are negligent, the sheep suffer. They are exposed to ravenous wolves. The sheep need to be rescued.
What will God do, since the shepherds have abdicated their responsibility? God promises He will be the Shepherd for His people (Ezekiel 34:11). He will be the one searching for the lost sheep. He will bring them into good pasture and make sure they are fed well. He will make sure they get the rest they need. He will be the one to rescue the sheep.
How will God do that? He promises to provide a faithful shepherd in his servant David (Ezekiel 34:23). Not king David, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus. It is Jesus who rescues the sheep. It is Jesus who sets them free from bondage. It is a joy to experience the political freedom found in America. But, how much more to enjoy the spiritual freedom found in trusting Christ alone! That freedom that goes with you wherever you are.