Over the years I’ve had the privilege of knowing shepherds of the church flock. Some take great pride in numbers, growth and fruitfulness. They often they build large mega churches and mentor only a few close them. Other shepherds tend to be slower and not concerned about the numbers or growth but they do care about the individual’s ability to grow in sound doctrine and therefore mentor the sheep of the flock individually. An example of this is Paul’s relationship to young Timothy. Both shepherds are focused on the individual’s spiritual health, development, and overall preparedness. Both seem to care about fulfilling the call on their lives, both are sensitive needs of the flock, and both are aware of the wolves (false shepherds) that often come to seduce and destroy the sheep of the flock. So where is the pattern for a shepherd found in the scriptures? The answer is found in Psalm 23.
In Psalm 23 the Lord is the shepherd watching over the condition of the flock. He makes sure they are safe and makes every effort to supply their needs such as green pastures. He leads, He restores, and He guides… for HIS names sake. In times of trouble, they don’t have to fear because He is with them and therefore they are comforted with His provision. He anoints them as He prays for them. The opposite is true concerning the wolves or false shepherds who have come to seduce and destroy the sheep. For example, Ezekiel 34 gives a clear description of the sin of the false shepherds (Ezekiel 34:1-4, 7-10), are fat, clothed in wool (from the sheep), and care nothing for the sheep. They push their agenda with force, destroy and ruin the sheep, and bring confusion so as to blur their vision. The condition of the sheep is sickly, weak, diseased, and broken (Ezekiel 34:4-6) and the rest of the chapter is how God feels about the condition of Israel. This sounds like todays political system. How does that compare with Psalm 23?
One thing for sure, if God was angry over the condition of Israel during Ezekiel’s time how do you think He feels today after He gave His only Son and the shepherds are celebrating, His birth, with santa the image of Baal?