For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! . . .
And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!
(Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24)
Ezekiel called the exiles “Israel,” referring to all Jews in captivity from both the northern and southern kingdoms. Ezekiel criticized Israel’s leaders for taking care of themselves rather than taking care of their people. He outlined their sins (34:1-6) and pronounced judgment upon them (34:7-10).
In contrast to the present evil shepherds (leaders) of God’s people (34:1-6), God will send a perfect shepherd, the Messiah (“my servant David”), who will take care of every need his people have and set up a kingdom of perfect peace and justice (see Psalm 23; Jeremiah 23:5-6; John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20-21; Revelation 21).
When our leaders fail us, we must not despair remember that God is in control and that he promises to return and care for his flock. Therefore, we know that we can turn to God for help. He is still in control and can transform any tragic situation to produce good for his kingdom (see Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).