Sunday, April 14, 2019

April 14 - Ezekiel 34

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ezekiel 34. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • This chapter opens with harsh words for the "shepherds of Israel." This is a metaphor for Israel's kings over the years, who had led the nation further and further away from God's will.
  • In verse 11, the tone becomes markedly more hopeful. God says that he himself will search and find his sheep. This is foreshadowing Jesus, who would come to earth hundreds of years later to bring hope to everyone who would listen. 
  • In verse 17, this animal analogy expands to include goats. God compares the selfish people of Israel to animals who trample others to try to get more food than they need. He uses this metaphor to warn people that, if they try to get ahead in life by putting down or taking from the less fortunate, they will miss out on the good things God wants for their lives.
  • The chapter concludes with God promising peace to his people. This will ultimately be fulfilled by Jesus. 
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Like the Israelites, in life we need to be careful not try to get ahead at the expense of others. Greed is still a powerful force, and when we give it what it wants, it ultimately leads to a life that is corrupt and far from God.
  • Unlike the Israelites who lived hundreds of years before Jesus was born, we are able to put our hope in Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Is there an area of your life where greed is manifesting? Talk to God and ask him to help you start putting others ahead of yourself.
  • Take time some time to thank Jesus for being our Good Shepherd, and for making the ultimate sacrifice. Because of him, we have a "covenant of peace," as this chapter puts it.