And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! 10 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
11 ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
If God’s appointed shepherds will not care for his sheep because they are caring for themselves, God states he will look after them himself.
“… I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out….”
Jesus said his sheep know his voice.
“…John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me….”
Often we, the ones who follow the Lord, are called his sheep, known for their loyalty, unity, and obedience. Sheep come together in a flock, follow the voice of the shepherd who cares for them: feeding them and providing water, rest and safety. Here we see the Lord speaking to his ‘sheep’ and his ‘shepherds,’ those he has assigned to care for his people. After reading this passage, the question comes; are we the sheep he speaks of or the shepherds he speaks of? We know the Lord, we hear his voice. Are we obedient to its call? We have promise here that the Lord himself will care for us. God has not changed…as he cared for his people Israel, so he will care for his people who name Jesus Christ as Lord. He seeks those who are lost, he heals the sick, he strengthens the weak, if we are injured he binds our wounds.
As for the shepherds who only take care of themselves, he says he is against them and he will remove them.
“…“Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”…”
Those who are found unfaithful to the task they have been given, will be removed from it. O may we ever be found faithful. May we hear with our ears, understand and be found obedient to his word.