The Shepherd and the Sheep

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Friends I want to try and put into words a tension I feel and that I know many Pastors experience as they ‘shepherd’ those in their care.

And in doing so I hope to correct what I think is a faulty expectation about the role of the Shepherd in caring for the flock.

Then I would like to ask for your prayers – both for me and our church family.

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God’s Shepherd and his Sheep

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I was at the Adelaide Show and somehow found myself in a sheep pen!

Well, not quite in the pen, but in the hall where they were auctioning off the sheep – merino bulls to be exact.

Reading Ezekiel 34 – God’s Shepherd and his Sheep got me thinking. Is it derogatory to be compared to a sheep? After all, in Ezekiel 34 it is clear that there was the one true Shepherd and that would be Jesus – and he cared for his flock – his sheep. Now if we each are following that shepherd, then we are the sheep! Is it a bad thing to be labelled a sheep?

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Then they will know that I am LORD

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‘Then they will know that I am their Lord’ (Ezekiel 28:26)

One of the clearest ways that we know that God is Lord is when we feel the consequence of his judgement. We are in common company here. Time and time again throughout the Old Testament, both Israel (God’s people) and the foreign nations felt the wrath of God as a consequence of his judgment – and in it realized that the God of Israel was in indeed Lord.

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A Vile Chapter in the Bible

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The lurid allegory of Ezekiel Chapter 16 must qualify as a chapter in the Bible least likely to be read aloud in church – as just as unlikely to be preached from. It is long, it is lewd, and its language in places is frankly pornographic. (Chris Wright (BST: Ezekiel, 127))

Tell me again why we read Ezekiel 16?!!

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Idolatry

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I just read Ezekiel 8-11 – it is shocking!

I found myself wondering how I would have responded if I was Ezekiel. God lifted him up and showed him the sin of the house of Israel and the leaders of Judah – and repeatedly stated ‘you will see things that are even more detestable...’ (Ezek 8:6, 13, 15, 17). The sin and rebellion of the people was shocking – insulting really. To set up an idol and then bow down to it – and to do that in the very sanctuary of God! That would be worse than inviting a prostitute to join you in bed when your spouse was in it! Or giving the PIN number to your joint bank account to a thief without asking your partner!

It is no wonder God was angry.

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The Watchman: Son of Man

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Son of Man…

  • Stand and I will speak to you
  • I am sending you to a rebellious nation – they are obstinate and stubborn.
  • Do not be afraid of them or their words – you must speak
  • Listen to what I say to you – words of lament and mourning and woe
  • Eat what I put before you.
  • Now go and speak my words, it is not to a people of obscure speech or a different language – you will understand them.
  • Listen carefully and take heart.

Son of Man, I have made you my watchman, so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.

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Rainbow following a storm

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Have you every had one of the holidays where it rained everyday and then as is often the way, on the day you plan to leave, the clouds clear, the sun peaks, and the rainbow formed – beautiful.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel knows this picture. In the final verse of chapter 1 he offers an ‘awesome’ description of God?

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Death of the Wicked

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You may not know this. I was born in the USA. I still hold my US passport and defend my heritage although I have lived in Australia since I was 10.

This week I have felt very conflicted and it would not be hard to work out why. The news of the killing of Osama Bin Laden has been greeted with relief, praise and joy. He has been the figurehead of evil in the minds of many for the past decade. For those who have been connected in any way to the terrorist attacks in Nairobi (1998), Yemen (2000), New York (2001), Washington (2001), United Flight 93 (2001), Bali (2002 to 2005), Iraq (2003), Madrid (2004), London (2005) and elsewhere, his death in many ways will allow another stage of healing in the cycle of grief.

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