Good and bad shepherds

August 18th, 2008

In my Pastoral Care unit we looked at some examples of good and bad shepherds this week. In Ezekiel 34 it gives us a guide to what good and bad pastoral care is.

Ezekiel was told to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel that are taking care of themselves and not the people. Ezekiel 34:1-5 are the negative examples.

  • v3 – You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.
  • v4 – You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick or bound up the injured.
  • v5 – You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.
  • v5 – You have ruled them harshly and brutally.

All in all this is a pretty bad picture of how they were taking care of the flock. They are selfish and not doing what they were meant to be doing. You can see why God has asked Ezekiel to speak out against them.

In the latter part of the chapter God says that He Himself is going to care for the people. In this He says what He is going to do. Ezekiel 34:15-31 gives us some good examples.

  • v16 – I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.
  • v16 – I will bind up the injured.
  • v16 – I will strengthen the weak.
  • v16 – I will shepherd the flock with justice.
  • v22 – I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered.

In this simple picture of good and bad shepherds we see what God wants and expects from Pastors and shepherds. He wants them to care for, watch out for and strengthen the flock. And they are to do this with justice and a selfless motivation.