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The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Messages for the Modern World from an Ancient Prophet is the theme we are working through and is based on Ezekiel’s prophecies.

This prophet lived in a foreign country during perilous times.

He found God to be very real and present, just as we can find Him to be today.

Today we are talking about The Shepherds and the Flock.


Ezekiel 34:11-12 NKJV

God, the True Shepherd

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.

Scripture Reading

Ezekiel 34:2-30 NKJV

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.”

God, the True Shepherd

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.”

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 

18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 

19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 

21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 

22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 

23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 

24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 

26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 

27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 

28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 

29 I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 

30 Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord God.’


In Jesus name we pray.



If Ezekiel were to enter into our modern churches, exchange his Eastern robes for a twenty first century business suit, and speak to us the message recorded in the thirty fourth chapter of his prophecy, we could be certain that he had been watching this mornings news.

The piercing message of this chapter deals with, of all things politics!

Now “politics” to Ezekiel didn’t mean what it has come to mean in our generation.

His concern was with the art or science of government, both from the standpoint of the governor and the governed.

And the shocking revelation he would deliver is that God is intimately concerned with this type of politics.

Not only, said Ezekiel, is God concerned when shepherds, mayors, premiers, and prime ministers, abuse their power, but He is equally concerned when the sheep, people like you and me, fail to respect the divinely ordained powers that govern us, or when we make life miserable for one another.

God judges the shepherd, and He also judges the sheep.

The emphasis of Ezekiel’s message is simple.

He dealt first with the shepherds, the rulers, the overseers of the people.

And especially scalding are his words to those rulers who neglect their sheep, exploit them, manipulate them, and even abandon them.

Second, Ezekiel dealt with the sheep themselves.

While the people were nodding their heads vigorously in approval of all that he was saying about the rulers, the searchlight was abruptly turned on them.

In painful and specific detail, Ezekiel dealt with the attitudes and the conduct of the people, the sheep.

  1. Firstly, he dealt with the shepherds.

The shepherds are those charged with the awesome responsibility of governing the people and providing some semblance of security and stability.

In one of his letters, the apostle Paul made this seemingly strange statement, “The powers that be are ordained by God.”

When Paul wrote that, Christians all over the the Roman Empire were being persecuted because of their faith in God.

They were being discriminated against socially.

Yet Paul wrote to these maligned followers of Christ, “The powers that be are ordained by God!”

And who was the emperor at that time?

Nero, one of the bloodiest and most inhumane rulers who ever sat on a throne.

Of course, Paul did not mean that Nero’s actions and methods of ruling were inspired of God.

He meant simply that civil government is a necessary, important part of God’d plan for the world.

But what kind of civil government does God smile upon?

In a rather brilliant analysis, Aristotle wrote that three forms of civil government are possible.

First, in a monarchy, one person rules.

Second, in a democracy, all rule.

And third, in an aristocracy, ideally the few who are best qualified govern.

After showing the strengths and weaknesses in each of these systems, Aristotle went on to declare that any form of government in endangered by excess of itself.

The monarchy can degenerate into tyranny.

Democracy can become the fickle, impulsive whim of a mob, and the aristocracy can fritter out its life in an endless series of committee meetings.

Yet in spite of the inevitable human imperfections of government, it is a part of God’s plan for the world that His children live under some form of civil government.

But hear Ezekiel again, in verse 34:2, “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

Under God, the first task of civil government is to provide order, to create a climate, an atmosphere, in which the people can pursue their lives peaceably .

It is rather interesting that nowhere in his instructions did Ezekiel suggest that government should manage business or agriculture.

Business people and farmers, by and large, do a much better job of it than the government.

But always, in every society, there are those who fall by the wayside.

They are weak, they are not sure of themselves, they cannot fend for themselves, the handicapped, the sick, and the weak.

But alas! A public servant is elected, he enters his arena of service like a chining knight on a white horse, with every good intention of saving the people who elected him.

But many times, not every time, thank God! This shepherd discovers he can feed himself while he feeds his sheep.

And inevitably, it becomes increasingly enjoyable to add to his own comfort and strengthen his own security while his sheep start to suffer, to be neglected, and ultimately to be hungry themselves.

2. When Ezekiel was finished with the shepherds, he turned to the sheep.

This brings us to the balancing side of Ezekiel’s message.

The sheep who had been listening fro the sidelines while Ezekiel took their leaders to task were, by this time, probably feeling smug and justified.

But then I can imagine Ezekiel turning around and facing the cheering mob with these words, “And as for you, my flock”.

It was their time now, and the laughter was gone.

We might paraphrase Ezekiel’s words to fit the language of today, “Now hear this, you who call yourselves children of God, the time has come for me to determine who will be men and who will be mice, those who will shoulder responsibility and those who will pass the buck!”

Already Ezekiel had exposed the false and hypocritical shepherds who had scattered the flock.

They had sown seeds of distrust and had caused disillusionment with life in general.

They had created a massive credibility gap between the people and their leaders.

A moral twilight had settled over the land, and no one trusted his brother.

So, through His prophet, God was saying to the society of the cynical, “Don’t sit in the seat of the scornful! You may indeed have come to the time when you feel you cannot trust anyone. But remember, I have not forsaken you. I will seek out those who have lost their way, I will lead back to the fold those who have strayed. Those who have been deeply hurt, I will heal. And the time will come when those who have made themselves fat and strong through deceit and wrongdoing will be destroyed.”

Jesus took Ezekiel’s beautiful picture of the shepherd and the sheep, God’s sheep, and gave to us some of His most beautiful and beloved parables.

And what is the lesson behind it all?

God knows what is going on in His world!

He is not an “absentee landlord,” a powerless God who must forever stand idly by and watch evil men Destry all that is good and decent and moral in human affairs.

But at the same time, the sheep, the people, must share in the responsibility.

As much as we would prefer it, we cannot heap all of the blame for our current dilemma on the heads of our leaders.

We are part of the fabric of our nation.

The threads of our lives are interwoven, and the strength of our nation is dependant on the interlocking faith of the people of God.


But what can I do?

I can search my own heart and life.

I can examine my own attitudes.

And I can pray that God will begin to do a work in my heart that will change my life and my attitudes toward my country and toward my fellow humans.

And when that happens, the influence of my changed life will touch another life, and the irreversible chain reaction will have begun.

What of the future?

Has the momentum of our irresponsibility gained such speed in its slide toward self destruction that we have past the point of no return?

Have so many so defied self and so committed themselves to the accumulating of things that there is no way to stem the tide?

Have we lost altogether the true meaning of sacrifice?

No one knows what tomorrow holds, for you, for me, for our nation.

But we do know that there are two paths we can travel.

One path offers tantalising visions of material plenty, of luxury, of prosperity.

But then comes the dark.

That is the pathway of self.

The other way is the pathway of faith.

That way may well lead to a cross, but after the cross will come eternal light and eternal life.

God is at work in His world.

He wants to involve us in His plans.

What are you going to do about it?

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

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When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us


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Gary Hoban

Refinery Life Church Australia

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