A Good Shepherd Feeds the Flock
Recalling the previous verses in Ezekiel 34, the emphasis of God’s complaint against the shepherds is that they are not feeding the sheep.
Lets read the verses again and consider a key characteristic of a good Shepherd.
Ezekiel 34 :1-31 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, 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 fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.
The key characteristic of a true shepherd is to feed the flock.
The Good Shepherd Fed His Flock
When Jesus was restoring Peter, He reiterated three times to feed the flock.
John 21 :15-1715 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
It is instructive to remember that the last words Jesus told His apostles was to be “teaching them to observe all that I command”
Peter Fed the Flock as a Faithful Shepherd
Peter got it! I think he really got it! He understood a shepherd’s responsibility and passed on this key characteristic to his readers.
1 Peter 5 :2
2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
Paul Fed the Flock as a Faithful Shepherd
Paul got it too, and he passed it on to his readers!
2 Timothy 2:24
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
Paul Expects His Converts to Shepherd by Feeding the Flock
Interesting that Paul expects to get some milk from the flock. This is even described as a right for apostles to expect some milk from the flock (see verse 12). Paul teaches this, but relinquishes that right in order for the gospel to have one less obstacle (Paul’s word not mine).
Notice that in the next two passages, Paul expected his converts to continue to feed the flock, to pass truth on, since the truth is the very lifeblood of the church, and by it we are able to stand.
Acts 20 :28
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
2 Timothy 2:2
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
The Chief Shepherd Feeds His Flock
Golly – the very passage in Ezekiel 34 speaks of the priority of teaching within the Shepherds ministry to His flock. God will set up the Shepherd, and the first activity He is seen to perform is to feed the sheep.
23 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.
God has set up His One Shepherd to feed His flock. Are you receiving sustenance from the One Good Shepherd?
It is obvious that God is feeding His sheep, and that He has supplied the Good Shepherd to perform this ministry. Feeding His sheep is the emphasis of the Good Shepherd, but God wants to express His all-encompassing concern for His sheep by describing the various other activities of the Shepherd that pleases God.
Although only One Shepherd fits this description perfectly, it is very instructive to consider the characteristics Ezekiel descibes in this passage, in order to understand God’s will for men who would call themselves shepherds of God’s flock.
(P.S. – Continually reminding someone they are a shepherd may be a clue!!)
This we will do in the following posts. Hope you can join me.
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