“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. – Ezekiel 36:2-4
God gave the prophet Ezekiel a message to deliver to the priests of Israel, who were supposed to take care of his people. However, they chose to take the choicest of the provisions for themselves through pride and greed and made the people of God suffer to the point that many were forced into emigrating from the country. They became lost and confused and without spiritual guidance and leadership. The defenseless sheep were left to fend for themselves.
There is a stern word today for any minister or preacher in America and around the world who has done like the Jewish priests of old. Those who heap up hordes of money and compel people to “support the ministry” and go around living lavish lifestyles all the while not supporting, defending, and caring for the poor, oppressed, needy, and the like will answer to God for their greed. They will have to give an account to the most High why they laid up earthly treasures for themselves and allowed God’s people and the unsaved to go on wanting and suffer, even in the physical realm. If you are a pastor, preacher, evangelist, prophet, apostle, teacher, or leader in a church, you had best read this opening passage of Ezekiel 36 and pay close attention to the stern warning given from God. He did it in the past, and he can and will do it again now and in the future. Don’t be like these selfish priests; instead, take of God’s people and shepherd them and do all that he said to do through Ezekiel.
Father, I am a commissioned minister of your gospel and strive to achieve and do all that you require and desire of me. I don’t want to be like the shepherds who fill their own pockets and let your people and those in need and needing you to suffer. Help me to reach other ministers with this stern warning that is of great impact and significance to them. So many so-called shepherds have stripped their flocks bare and allowed them to wander aimlessly. Raise up true shepherds who will do as you told Peter to do, “Feed my sheep.” May your will be done, not ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.