Need for Compassionate Leaders

KEY VERSE: “Thus saith the LORD God: Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.” —Ezekiel 34:11


THE PROPHECY OF today’s lesson depicts God as the Chief Shepherd of his fold. The sheep of this flock represent Israel. The under shepherds referred to did not have the interests of the flock at heart, and exploited them. They are spoken of as having scattered the sheep, and—rather than feeding them and looking after their interests—they even ate the sheep! (vs. 10) No doubt this is a reference to many of the rulers, and especially the degenerate priesthood and false prophets, who continued to lead the people of Israel throughout their history.

The righteous prophets, whom God sent to the nation from time to time, were shepherds who did care for the interests of the flock. But false shepherds or pastors plagued the flock and under their influence Israel was scattered many times. (Jer.23:1) True shepherds of the Lord never scatter God’s people. (vs. 4) They are always gatherers.

Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, and if the sheep of his day had recognized his voice and followed him they would have been gathered and richly blessed. Concerning this, although using a different simile, Jesus said to this people, “How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Luke 13:34,35) The people preferred to follow the false shepherds of their day, with the result that ultimately they were scattered and the nation destroyed.

A true shepherd is glad to make any sacrifice necessary in order that the sheep might be properly provided for and protected. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, gave his life for the sheep, and we are admonished by him to do the same—to lay down our lives for the brethren. A true shepherd has a genuine love for his sheep, and is solicitous for their every need. He not only sees that food and water are available for them, but he stands guard to protect his sheep from those who would come among them to steal and kill.

The voice of a shepherd of God is the voice of truth—in reality the voice of the Chief Shepherd, Jehovah, as it reaches us through his Word. It was thus in the case of Jesus. “The words that I speak,” he said, “I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10) So it should be in the case of all shepherds. Their voice, their words, should be only those messages of truth pertaining to the divine plan which have been transmitted to them through the Scriptures.

And the Lord’s sheep should learn to know this voice of truth. If they do they will be able to discern any discordant note they hear, and know that to follow its leading would take them away from the flock and the green pastures which the Lord has provided. And how rich and how blessed the experiences of those who know the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow its leading. It matters little who the Lord may use to transmit that voice or message to us. The important thing is to discern the voice of truth and to follow it faithfully.

True to his word, the Lord has searched out his sheep, first from among Israel and then from the Gentiles. Jesus spoke, however, of “other sheep” of a different fold. (John 10:16) The parable of the sheep and goats identifies the ‘other’ sheep, their gathering, and the inheritance into which they enter—the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.—Matt. 25:34

Thus Jehovah’s work of searching out his sheep, as shown in today’s prophecy, will be complete. The gathering of all into Christ will have been accomplished.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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