“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!….”
This is the beginning of Jeremiah 23.
I recently asked a renowned elder minister why Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34 had never been preached or taught to our people.
In the last fifty years, while attending many camp meetings, Bible conferences and revivals, I have never once heard this topic discussed.
His reply was, that he had no idea why, that he did not have an answer to that question.
He did say that the ministry would stand before God and give an account for what they have done to God’s people and how they have driven them from the Church to be lost.
He commented that after all of these years, he was doing everything he could to bring about healing to all those who have been injured and to speak to the ministry about the mistakes they had made by being so harsh to God’s sheep and requiring things of them that were not scripturally based. I was humbled by his honesty.
Ezekiel was told to prophesy against the Shepherds. Both prophets go into great detail about the damage being done to those in charge of God’s heritage.
“The diseased have ye not strengthened; neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelity have ye ruled them,” Ezekiel 34:4.
There’s no need to go into a discussion as to why we weren’t taught about this. When you read these two passages, the reason will become quite evident.
Just why would this information be withheld from us? If our leadership had allowed the Prophets to speak and work as God set them in the church to do, this knowledge would have been common.
I ask that you read these two chapters for yourself (see below) and then ask yourself the same question, why were we not taught this?
Some will immediately say that these prophecies are not for our time. That simply won’t wash.
If this is not for our time then neither is any of the rest of the Old Testament. It seems we take what we want from the Old Testament to apply to our people today and we often quote passages to preach and condemn others with.
I’m afraid we can’t just pick and choose as we wish. Anyone who has studied in depth knows that prophecies can be at least two fold, meaning they spoke in that time and they still speak today.
They are alive as God’s Word is alive and cannot be changed.
Many of the things described in these two chapters are so descriptive of what we are seeing in the Christian churches today and also in those who say they are apostolic Pentecostals.
Sadly, much of this has gone on for many years, in many varied ways and the destruction has been relentless. It never should have been this way.
The idea that some pastors have fed themselves and have not fed the sheep is a startling revelation although if some of us are honest we would have to say we’ve seen it.
I must stop right here and say once again, that I have known some wonderful, precious pastors in my lifetime and so have you.
But, I have also known too many ruthless, brutal men who punished God’s people unmercifully and threw them out for the least of infractions of the rules, not God’s rules but commandments that were instituted by man and preached as doctrine.
It’s past time for this to stop!
God will take the sheep away from these shepherds and pastors just as He says he will in these prophecies.
In the past few years, some of this has already begun. Whether it was taught to us or not and for whatever reason it was kept from us does not change the fact that it is God’s Word.
So, what do we do now?
What is our part in this. I think we all must begin to do what the elder minister I mentioned is doing.
Be big enough to repent and say we are sorry. Paul said once that he did some things ignorantly, he did not know any better.
Once he knew, he no longer had any excuse to continue as before. We know they’re out there. Many wounded, lost sheep that should not be out in the cold.
Those pastors didn’t do it all. We saints also drove people away. We hurt people by requiring things of them that did not come from Jesus Christ.
Maybe we didn’t know any better. After reading these passages, we will now. Jesus is looking for those lost ones.
Perhaps if we help Him, we can undo some of the damage that has been done.
This is my prayer.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. 3 “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord,” Jeremiah 23:1-4.
“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and [a]cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them,” Ezekiel 34:1-10.
First published: February 15, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn