Ezekiel 34:11, 12b, 14a, 15a, 16, 20b-24 - "Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I Myself will search for My sheep and will seek them out. ... I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. ... I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. ... I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep .... I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. ... Behold, I, I Myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue My flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken."
We're used to thinking of God as judging the wolves who prey upon His sheep—outsiders harming Christians. But here God talks about sheep that are harming other sheep. And God takes this very, very seriously.
What kinds of harm are we talking about? God describes it in terms of physical violence—pushing and thrusting with horns. This isn't just a minor tiff over the altar flowers! God also describes it as a kind of inequity—one sheep becomes fat and strong, while another is malnourished. The strong sheep no longer see the weaker ones as brothers and sisters; they see them as prey animals to be devoured. It's the kind of harm that results in other Christians being "scattered abroad" instead of staying safely inside God's flock; people leave the church and possibly even Christ Himself.
If you have been a victim of serious harm in the church, know that God has not forgotten you. He knows what has happened to you, and He cares. He will not just smooth over the evil that has happened! A day of judgment is coming, when God will put all such evils outside His kingdom forever.
But what do we do in the meantime? God says, "And I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David." This refers to Jesus, our Good Shepherd. He sees what is going on in His flock, and He will not ignore it! Run to Him for help. Cling to Him as closely as you can; He knows what it is like to suffer at the hands of those who made Him a prey, too. Let Him care for you and comfort you. He who lay down His life to make you His own will not ignore you now.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, You are our Shepherd. Have mercy on Your sheep who suffer, and stop those who do evil. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Briefly, what kinds of evils have you seen committed within the church?
2. Why do you think such things can happen among people called by Jesus' Name?
3. What could you do to prevent this kind of harm and to care for those who have already suffered?
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