How wonderful it is to see in Ezekiel 34 how our good Shepherd, Christ, is taking an all-inclusive tender care of us as His sheep!
First He speaks to the shepherds, who did not take care of the sheep but rather fed themselves and caused the sheep to go astray and be scattered, and then the Lord Himself promised to come in and personally gather His sheep, feed them, lead them, and take an all-inclusive tender care of the flock.
This chapter opens with the Lord’s direct word to the shepherds of the flock, who were the leaders of the people; in the Lord’s eyes, the sheep needed to be recovered from the damage caused by these shepherds, who did not take care of their sheep.
This is the situation among God’s people today: there are many genuine believers in Christ, and they meet in different denominations and free groups, but their shepherds do not take care of them but rather they themselves eat and drink and drive the sheep away. Oh Lord Jesus!
Taking the lead among God’s people is a weighty responsibility, because the main function of those who lead is to shepherd the Lord’s sheep, His flock, and their care for the sheep should be all-inclusive and tender, expressing the Lord’s care for His sheep.
We need to learn from the Lord, our Great Shepherd, who seeks out the lost sheep, has a heart and skill to heal those who are broken, and bring back those who are driven away.
The Lord Jesus today is in the heavens as the great Shepherd, the Shepherd of our souls, and He is also in our spirit as the Spirit to shepherd us back into the full enjoyment of Himself; His care for us is all-inclusive and tender, specific and sweet.
In Ezekiel 34 the Lord Himself comes as the Shepherd to search for His sheep and seek them out; our experience testifies to this – He sought us out, He found us, and He brought us out from among the unbelievers to Himself!
The Lord comes as the good Shepherd to bring us to our own land – He comes to give us an allotted portion of Christ together with the saints in the light (Col. 1:12). The Lord brings us back to the high mountains – He brings us to experience and enjoy the resurrected and ascended Christ!
The Lord brings us back to the streams – He keeps shepherding us back to drinking the living water of the life-giving Spirit! How we love our good Shepherd with His all-inclusive tender care!
The Lord Feeds us with His Riches, Gives us Inward Rest, and Binds us up and Heals us
The Lord Jesus as the good Shepherd feeds us, His flock, by the rivers (Ezek. 34:13). He knows we are thirsty, and He doesn’t judge us or correct us – He leads us to drink of the rivers of living water.
Especially when we come to the meetings of the church where the saints exercise their spirit to enjoy the Lord, praise Him, speak Him, sing, and release their spirit – here we see the flowing river, and we enjoy the riches of Christ. In the meetings of the local church the Lord as our Shepherd feeds us by the rivers.
As He has promised, the Lord feeds us with good and rich pasture (Ezek. 34:14); the rivers are for our drinking, and the pasture is for our feeding. When we touch the Lord in the morning, He leads us personally to drink of Him as living water and eat Him as the rich pasture.
When we meet with the saints, we are under the all-inclusive tender care of our good Shepherd, and He leads us to drink by the rivers and feed in the pasture! Even more: our feeding is not in the valleys but on the mountains, on the heights; the Lord feeds us as He speaks to us His words under a clear sky, in a high and clear atmosphere.
The Lord brings us back to the good and rich pasture, signifying Christ as our life supply; His feeding satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst, for He knows what we need and when we need it (see Psa. 23:2; John 10:9; 1 Tim. 1:4). He Himself shepherds His flock, and He causes them to lie down (v. 15).
Many times we are busy doing this and that, and we are weary; but the Lord as the good Shepherd in His all-inclusive tender care causes us to rest. He first feeds us, quenches our thirst, and then gives us rest from any work, struggle, and striving.
The Lord is our Shepherd: we shall not lack anything; He leads us to waters of rest, feeds and nourishes our soul with His word, and causes us to lie down and rest.
If we experience fears, worries, upheaval, trouble, tears, and anxiety, we need to turn to the Lord and come to the meetings of the church, and the Shepherd of our soul will feed us, give us to drink, and cause us to lie down in the pastures.
The Lord as the good Shepherd restores our soul and brings us back to the sweet enjoyment of Himself. He calls us again and again to come to Him with all our worries, fears, burdens, troubles, and woes, for He cares about us and desires to give us rest for our souls (Matt. 11:28-30).
The Lord as the Shepherd seeks the lost one and brings back the one who was driven away and bind up the broken one and strengthen the sick one (Ezek. 34:16). How we need the Lord’s healing and binding up!
The fact that we are children of God, consecrated people, and God-men living in the church life, does not exempt us from being brokenhearted; this is part of the human situation.
But we have a Shepherd who knows how to heal the brokenhearted, and we need to come to Him, let Him look at the break and the pain and the sorrow, and He will apply oil and wine (the Spirit and life) to our situation in His all-inclusive tender care (Isa. 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19; Matt. 9:9-13).
Thank You Lord for leading us as Your flock by the streams to feed us with Your riches. Thank You, our dear Shepherd, for Your all-inclusive tender care for us, Your sheep. You bring us back to the good and rich pasture so that we may enjoy Christ as our life supply. You cause us to lie down, giving us inward rest. You care for us, bind up the broken one, strengthen the sick one, and heal the brokenhearted. How we need to be healed and strengthened within by You, our Good Shepherd, in Your all-inclusive tender care!
The Lord Clears away the Unjust Things, Cares for our Problems, and Brings us under His Kingship
In Ezek. 34:17 the Lord as the good Shepherd promises that He will judge between one sheep and another; He exercises righteous judgments among us, clearing away all the unjust things (see Ezek. 34:17-22; Col. 3:15).
The Lord is aware of anything unjust or wrong among His flock, and He will touch and correct anything off. Whether it is relationships, offenses not forgiven, wounds not healed, or misunderstandings not cleared up, the Lord will come to shepherd us, and He will make things right so that there would be no more suffering or pain.
He doesn’t do this with a rod of iron but with a shepherd’s staff. Christ is the real David – He is the real Shepherd, set up as the one Shepherd to feed us and cause us to be filled and satisfied (Ezek. 34:23); He first feeds us, satisfies us, causes us to rest, and binds us up and heals us, and then He takes care of us, including all our problems and responsibilities in our daily living.
As the Good Shepherd, the Lord takes an all-inclusive tender care of us; it matters to Him regarding all the aspects of our living, with all our problems and responsibilities (see Psa. 23).
We just need to let Him care for us; His care for us is all-inclusive and tender, and He doesn’t have any favorite sheep – He cares for us equally. We simply need to cast our cares and anxieties upon Him for it matters to Him concerning us.
Anything that matters to us, matters to Him; we may have a health situation, feel lonely, be depressed, are unemployed, have a financial need, or an unfulfilled longing – just tell Him, and open to Him what is in your heart.
We need to pray and open to the Lord, pour out our soul to Him, tell Him what we are thinking, what we feel, what we are afraid of, what we need, and what we long for, because we are His sheep, and He is our Shepherd.
He doesn’t come to intimidate us or rule over us or impose His authority on us; He cares for us as our Shepherd, and the result is that we obey Him as our King and come under His kingship (Rev. 7:17).
On the positive side, He uses His authority to deal with the enemy; on the positive side, He serves us, shepherds us, cares for us, and feeds the sheep. Hallelujah, the Lord as the King of kings has all authority in heaven and on earth, and now in ascension He is the great Shepherd, the chief Shepherd – in our spirit, to shepherd our soul!
The Lord cares of us by shepherding us, taking care of our problems and longings, and then He brings us under His kingship. He doesn’t come as a King to rule over us outwardly with an iron rod; He comes as our Shepherd to care for all our needs, and we willingly come under His kingship as we enjoy His all-inclusive tender care.
Lord Jesus, You know our situation, our unhealed wounds, the misunderstandings, the unforgiven offenses, and all our relationship problems. We come to You as Your sheep: You are our Good Shepherd, and we want to be daily under Your all-inclusive tender care. We bring all our problems to You, and we want to tell You our longings, our needs, our loneliness, our health situation, and everything that happens to us. Thank You, Lord, it matters to You concerning us. Keep us under Your shepherding, enjoying Your all-inclusive tender care, until we are fully brought under Your kingship.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Ezekiel, pp. 178-181 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Ezekiel (1), msg. 11 (week 11), God’s Recovery by Life through His Shepherding.
- Hymns on this topic:
# When my sense of Thy dear presence fades, / When I lose all touch with Thee, / Though my heart is caught in doubt, / Rod and staff, they comfort me. / Life by faith, I surely know, / Shepherd leads me as I go / Here as I feast before my foes, / Cup of blessing overflows. (song on the Lord as our Shepherd)
# The risen Christ my Shepherd is. / He graciously my soul doth feed. / My Christ is mine, and I am His. / How can I lack or e’er have need? / In pastures green He makes me lie. / My soul He satisfies always, / The restful water leads me by, / In fellowship and perfect peace. (Song on the Lord’s shepherding)
# Thou the Shepherd and Physician, / Thou hast healed our sick condition; / Comfort, guide, protect-Thy mission; / Thou dost care for us. (Hymns #78)