Ezekiel 34:1 The word of the LORD came to me:
Eze 34:2 Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them--to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4 You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 Thus says the Lord GOD, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them.
At the age of 25yrs Ezekiel, son of a priestly family, was part of the Jewish community who were exiled to Babylon. He was ‘prophet in residence’ for the Jewish exiles between 590-570BC, where he repeatedly explained that the children of Israel had lost God’s protection because of their apostasy. The passage from Chapter 34 refers to the way their leadership had neglected he sheep while taking care to enrich themselves. “Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep.”
God holds leaders accountable for the way they strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured and give guidance to the lost. In contrast those leaders bent on self-enrichment and the accumulation of power will be stopped by the Creator.
Second Sunday in Advent
3.The Coming of Christ
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 26.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.
Ezekiel, at the age of 25, was amongst 3,000 upper class Jews who were exiled to Babylon.