Ezekiel 34:23-24 (ESV) 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. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.
Ezekiel 34 is scathing rebuke of the shepherds of Israel.
Keep in mind that “shepherd” is a adjectival for the multitude of “leaders” who had some manner of charge over the people from prophets to princes to priests to military commanders to kings. Anyone who had a role of leadership in the people of God and did not perform their duty to the glory of God and the good of the people is called out in Ezekiel 34.
These leaders served themselves to the neglect of God’s people. They had not concern for the weak, sick, injured or strayed. Because of the lack of concern for the sheep, the people were scattered literally and metaphorically. They were taken captive and they were theologically all over the map regarding their knowledge of God.
The poor instruction from God’s word and the practical lapse in obedience to God’s word from both neglect and blatant false teaching led to dire conditions for God’s people.
It’s not as thought the Lord didn’t warn them. The day you eat of it there will be death. From the day of rebellion in the garden of Eden all the way to today, leaders fail people either by accident, through weakness, by design and just about every other reason under the sun.
But God, being rich in mercy and with sovereign design, ordained that the TRUE David, the BETTER David, the ChIEF Shepherd, The GOOD Shepherd would be sent on mission to speak God’s word, cause his people to hear his voice, bring them into his safe pasture and oversee them like a BOSS.
This is exactly what Jesus tells us in John 10. John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus came on mission from Yhwh as the Better David as the One Shepherd who would be the Prince of peace over his people.
He has come. He is Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), and Jesus is coming again.
As they longed for that One Shepherd, at Advent we celebrate that he has come and established his rule and we live in the warmth of his established pasture and care. We also celebrate his going to the Father and giving us a mission in his name to complete, and we long for him to return again to finally conquer darkness and physically be with us as he is over us as the One Shepherd forever.
Grace to you and peace!