These are notes from the eleventh part of a Bible overview series.
Read Ezekiel 34 (1-16/17-31).
1. Ezekiel talks about the failures of the Kings and spiritual leaders before the exile and about what should and should not be done by good leaders. What are the characteristics of both?
Look after the flock. Feed them, clothe them. Look after the sick and injured.
2. Ezekiel offers a vision of the Good Shepherd. What does God as Shepherd do that his human leaders won’t do?
He’ll rescue the sheep.
3. Ezekiel switches from talking about the shepherd as a leader to the shepherd as a judge. Why are both leaders and members tested more by their care of the weak than of the strong and healthy (v17-22)?
The normal Israelites too look out for their own interests rather than those of their neighbour.
4. Ezekiel moves on to talk about the ultimate hope for the exiles in Babylon. How does he describe it?
Similar to Isaiah 9, God paints a picture that is a complete contrast to the present experience of the Israelites.
5. Should we long for such judgement by our leaders? Why or why not?
Open for discussion.
6. How can we model the justice that’s desired for the weak by the Good Shepherd?
Look to Jesus’ example.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd we should listen to and follow.
God is the ultimate husband
Israel was rescued. God is lavishly splashing out on her. He gave her splendour and made her beauty perfect. Ezekiel is prophesying to a group of God’s people who are stuck in Babylon. They were blaming God but he says the problem is with them. God says they’re worse than a prostitute. They’ve really messed up.
She is an adulteress
God is saying that his people are like this woman. It’s rejection of a loving husband. Her behaviour was outrageous and unacceptable. A marriage should never end like this. They take God’s gifts and abuse them. God saw they were unfaithful.
Do you prefer strangers to your own husband?
It was a problem back then and it’s a problem for us now. God wanted his people to be faithful but they were faithless. We can be like people back then and be spiritual adulterers. Do you find satisfaction in Jesus or strangers? Are you finding security in Jesus alone? Jesus deserves to be treated with wholehearted lifelong commitment. Sin is always relational.
Sin is always spiritual adultery
We might think that we can hide away from sin but it’s always relational and against God.
Jesus is the husband who makes his wife perfect
Israel didn’t remember what she was like before God married her. The people had a sick heart. God promises to his unfaithful wife to make atonement for her and remove her sin. We know that has happened. God doesn’t need us but he chooses to bless us. He is going to make us what we’re not through Jesus.