Our Daily Bread Devotional For February 7, 2023 : Topic – The Good Shepherd
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Bible in a Year:
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock . . . , so will I look after my sheep.
Today’s Scripture : Ezekiel 34:11–16
Along with Jeremiah and Daniel, Ezekiel is one of the three “captivity prophets.” Exiled from Judah to Babylon in 597 bc, Ezekiel received his prophetic calling in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:2–3). In Ezekiel 33, God pleads with His people to “Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ ” (v. 11). Then, in chapter 34, He speaks against “the shepherds of Israel” (v. 2). These negligent shepherds were the kings, prophets, and priests charged with the spiritual well-being of the nation. God accused them of caring for themselves and not the flock (v. 8). The description of “wild animals” in verse 8 refers to the armies who had conquered and plundered the nation. Finally, in verses 11–16, the Good Shepherd is anticipated. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
By: Tim Gustafson
Message : When Pastor Warren heard that a man in his church had deserted his wife and family, he asked God to help him meet the man as if by accident so they could chat. And He did! When Warren walked into a restaurant, he spotted the gentleman in a nearby booth. “Got some room for another hungry man?” he asked, and soon they were sharing deeply and praying together.
As a pastor, Warren was acting as a shepherd for those in his church community, even as God through the prophet Ezekiel said He would tend His flock. God promised to look after His scattered sheep, rescuing them and gathering them together (Ezekiel 34:12–13). He would “tend them in a good pasture” and “search for the lost and bring back the strays”; He would “bind up the injured and strengthen the weak” (vv. 14–16). God’s love for His people reverberates through each of these images. Though Ezekiel’s words anticipate God’s future actions, they reflect the eternal heart of the God and Shepherd who would one day reveal Himself in Jesus.
No matter our situation, God reaches out to each of us, seeking to rescue us and sheltering us in a rich pasture. He longs for us to follow the Good Shepherd, He who lays down His life for His sheep (see John 10:14–15).
Reflect & Pray
How does Jesus, the Good Shepherd, care for you? How could you offer Him any wounds that need tending or weakness you’d like strengthened?
Dear God, You love me even when I go astray and wander. Help me to stay always in Your sheepfold, that I might receive Your love and care.