Woe to Shirking Shepherds

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be tothe shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” Ezekiel 34:2

Ezekiel’s ministry was not an easy one. Much of the time, God had the prophet warn others to cease from their wrong-doing. God’s eye saw all the weaknesses of all men. None escaped God’s observation, including spiritual leaders — the priests.

The priests were to live holy, separated lives. They were to be an example to all, yet no man is perfect, as were these leaders. Many were committed to obeying God’s commandments, and were good shepherds leading their people in paths of righteous. Some, however, were not. God saw the sins of those men, and they were going to lose their position of service (Eze. 34:10).

These poor “shepherds” were not:


They were also guilty of:


Although we are no longer to have priests directing the flock of believers, we still have “shepherds” that God has raised up to do His bidding, to lead people to salvation, and to spiritually feed and tend to the flock. We call these modern day “shepherds” pastors or ministers.

There are many, many good “shepherds” today. They are doing all that the “bad” priests of Ezekiel’s day would not do. Their priority is on others, obedience to God’s Word, and not on themselves. I would not have grown in the things of the Lord, and learned about them if it were not for good pastors. I would never speak out against these men of God; but the truth be known, there are still some poor pastors today, as there were in Ezekiel’s days.

Since I have mainly only been in good Bible-believing churches where God has directed me, I fortunately have not seen too many poor examples of the pastorate. However, I do not usually watch preaching on the television because many of those TV preachers I have seen on some programs live lives almost identical to the disobedient, selfish priests of the past. They may have knowledge, a nice suit, a fancy stage, and a golden tongue, but they do not have the compassion for their flock they are responsible for. These, and other, self-centered pastors may have six digit salaries and memberships in the thousands, but they never feed their flock with the truths from the Word of God, never go out to visit those in their congregation, never seek those that have strayed from the faith, never make an attempt to reach the lost so they can be saved, and commit many of the other sins of the past priesthood of Ezekiel’s day.

The lack of obedient shepherds to minister to their “flock” is not unseen by God. He loves His sheep and has promised to feed them Himself (vs. 14), seek those that are lost (vs. 16), and He will save the flock (vs. 22). As God took away the position of servitude from many of the past priests, so can He do to the “shepherds” that are not taking care of their “sheep” (Eze. 34:10) today.

Do not be quick to judge your pastor! That is God’s business.  I would be afraid to do so, as he is God’s man for the flock in your area. However, there are pastors that are not ministering properly, and it may be time to pray seriously for them, feed yourself with God’s Word rather than rely on someone else to spoon feed you, or it may be time to seek God’s will on finding a leader in another local church that God wants you to be led by.

To those pastors that are slacking in their commitments and responsibilities to feed God’s sheep, please re-dedicate yourself to do as God desires of you, before He has to remove you from your ministry. Also, those that may not be pastors, but are disobedient Christians, heed also the example of the priests of Ezekiel’s day.   As He removed them from their office, he can also remove you from a ministry you were called to, if you do not do as He has shown you to do. We all need to be obedient to God’s Word!

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