“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 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. 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 34:11-24
Ezekiel’s audience were living in days of ‘thick darkness’: they had become broken and destitute people, living in poverty under corrupt governments in Judah before being abducted as prisoners of war. Through 2021, as in 2020, we saw people around the world crying out for justice as their police or their government’s soldiers proved themselves ineffective and wicked. How much would all these people love to live in a country run by David, with his reputation as a shepherd who put his own life on the line for the sheep in his care! (1 Samuel 17:34-35)
God’s promise of a return home for his people would have been beautiful news to them, made all the sweeter by the fact that God would do away with the corrupt middle-men of leadership and rule directly over them; his justice preventing anyone from bullying another. Today, our beautiful news is of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, who will soon rule on the earth in justice, and those who believe in him now will see that day and rejoice.