No More Middle Man
(Ezekiel 33:21-33; 34:1-31; 35:1-15; 36:1-38)
The people of God spent 70 years in exile in Babylonia. God sent the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel to reprimand and reassure His children.
The prophet chastised the religious leaders, who seemed to care more for their own aims than for those they were to lead and guide.
The word of the Lord came to me:
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel;
prophesy and say to them:
'This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who only take care of themselves!
Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
You eat the curds,
clothe yourselves with the wool
and slaughter the choice animals,
but you do not take care of the flock.
You have not strengthened the weak
or healed the sick
or bound up the injured.
You have not brought back the strays
or searched for the lost.
You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered because there was no shepherd,
and when they were scattered
they became food for all the wild animals.
My sheep wandered over all the mountains
and on every high hill.
They were scattered over the whole earth,
and no one searched or looked for them.”’”
Surely the Lord mourned to see His children’s needs ignored and their appointed leaders failing to care adequately or diligently for them. In His divine omniscience, God had to have known – right from the start – that no human leaders could fulfill His expectations of selfless guidance and care for those they led.
Since Creation, the Lord had planned to send the ultimate Shepherd, the lover of all men’s souls, to lead and lift those in need. And who is not?
Jesus is the Messiah in the middle - the Intermediary between God and man - the holy High Priest of God's purpose and the only bridge to the prime pasture of God's perfect peace. We need no other middle man, so long as we depend upon Him.
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“I myself will search for my sheep
and look after them.
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock
when he is with them,
so will I look after my sheep.
I will rescue them from all the places
where they were scattered
on a day of clouds and darkness.
I will bring them out from the nations
and gather them from the countries,
and I will bring them into their own land.
I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel,
in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.
I will tend them in a good pasture,
and the mountain heights of Israel
will be their grazing land.
There they will lie down in good grazing land,
and there they will feed in a rich pasture
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will tend my sheep
and have them lie down,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
“I will search for the lost
and bring back the strays.
I will bind up the injured
and strengthen the weak,
but the sleek and the strong
I will destroy.
I will shepherd the flock with justice.”
What a wonderful Old Testament picture of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd Himself.
Will you pray with me?
You pastor Your people
In love and mercy,
Providing us with pastures of peace
Under Your care.
Guide us, Lord.
Lead us in the paths
That You have marked out for us.
Teach us to follow You,
Rather than relying upon worldly leaders,
Who listen not to Your call.
Turn the hearts of those who lead,
So that they may follow You as well.
Thank You for the godly leaders
That You have already placed
In prominent positions.
Most of all,
Thank You for Jesus,
The Lover of our souls
And the Shepherd of our hearts.
Without Jesus, we would be lost,
Like sheep without a shepherd.