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September 1st -

No More Middle Man

(Ezekiel 33:21-33; 34:1-31; 35:1-15; 36:1-38)

The Good Shepherd

Artist Unknown

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.”’”

(Ezekiel 34:1-6, NIV)

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.”

(Ezekiel 34:11-16, NIV)

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?

Good Shepherd,

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.


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