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Shepherds, of course, can refer to those who tend or care for sheep, like the first people who were invited by angels to see the baby Jesus on that night long ago. But the term “shepherd” is also often used in the Bible for leaders. In today’s OYB reading in Ezekiel 34, there is heavy criticism of the “shepherds” of Israel.

"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?... Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd… My flock was scattered…. and there was no one to search or seek for them." (34:2, 4-6)

The leaders of Israel, both religious and political leaders, had failed in their responsibilities to their people. This can instruct us as well in whatever leadership responsibilities we may have, whether political or civic or church leadership, or leadership in our homes as husbands or parents—let’s not fail the Lord in whatever leadership responsibilities He’s given us. 

We can balance out this criticism of failed leadership with two verses from our Hebrews 13 OYB reading: (13:7), “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” And (13:17), “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

Our Lord is a perfect Shepherd (Psalm 23:1), and we in turn should shepherd well those who are entrusted to us.

Posted by Bob Busenitz with


I would have always preferred any one of my teachers discipline me rather than having my dad do it. None of my teachers had as vested an interest in my growth or development as my father did. Plus, the law limited the extent of the punishment my teachers could dole out!  I can remember telling my 5th grade teacher that something “was none of her business!”  That statement did not sit well with her & needless to say she disciplined me. But when my father heard how disrespectful I had been, he made her ‘discipline’ look like a visit to Santa! 

Proverbs 27:17 reads, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” As brothers & sisters in Christ, we have an obligation to lovingly & humbly encourage godliness in one another. When we do this, regardless our approach, there are, many times, sparks. Yet, we should welcome these times of correction & redirection because others can see things in our lives we often fail to recognize. And the ‘discipline’ we experience from our brother or sister is rarely devastating because they do not have as vested an interest in our good as does our Heavenly Father. 

Hebrews 12, today’s NT reading, states that God disciplines us for our good & His glory. He absolutely has a vested interest in seeing our character ‘conformed to the image Christ.’  And yesterday’s reading included a dire warning to His people: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31)   It seems to me that wisdom mandates that you & I learn to love & accept correction from our brothers & sisters so our Father does not have to step in!

Posted by Curt Krohn with

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