Ezekiel 34-36

Thursday Evening Bible Study

November 3, 2005

Ezekiel 34

:1-10 Bad shepherds

:1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

shepherds – the leaders of Israel, both the secular government as well as the religious leaders such as the priests.

Jeremiah was saying much of the same thing to the people in Jerusalem:

(Jer 23:1 NKJV) "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD.

God is giving Ezekiel one of the reasons why the Jews would be scattered through the Babylonian invasion. A part of the reason had to do with the leaders of the nation.

:3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.

fat – the tastiest part of the meat, but also forbidden for people to eat. Only God was allowed to have the fat.

These shepherds only tended their “flock” for their own benefit. They only cared about what they were going to get from the people, not how they could serve them.

:4 "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

In verses 5-10, God talks about how He’s going to judge these leaders for what they’ve done to the flock.


Bad shepherds

In many ways, each of us probably spends time in our life acting as a “shepherd”. It may be at home, with our family. It may be at work as a supervisor. It may simply be with our friends or acquaintances.
Qualities of a bad shepherd (vss. 2-4)
1.     He only feeds himself (vs. 2)
2.     He doesn’t feed the flock (vs. 2)
3.     He takes the best stuff from the flock (fat, wool, vs. 3)
4.     He kills the sheep (vs. 3)
5.     Doesn’t strengthen the weak (vs. 4)
6.     Doesn’t heal the sick (vs. 4)
7.     Does not help the broken (vs. 4)
8.     Does not go after the lost sheep (vs. 4)
9.     Rules with force and cruelty (vs. 4)

:11-31 The Shepherd God

:11 'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

“God will save the day, and all will say, “My glorious!”

:12 "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

:13 "And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.

This is not the promise of restoration after the Babylonian captivity, but a restoration that will occur when Jesus returns.

:14 "I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

:15 "I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD.

make them lie down

Ps. 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

Sheep tend to be found in dry, arid countries. Green pastures aren’t always a common thing for sheep. It’s up to the shepherd to either provide a field that has been cultivated for their food, or to take them to a field that’s green. This is what makes for the healthiest sheep.
Our Shepherd knows how to take care of us. We too have the best of pastures to feed in. God’s Word.

:16 "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."

:17 'And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.

God would not only judge the rulers (the shepherds), but also the big, bad, bully sheep of the flock.

:18 "Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture; and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?

:19 "And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet."

The bullies ate the best food and drank the best water, but trampled and ruined what was left for others.

:20 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them: "Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep.

:21 "Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad,

:22 "therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

:23 "I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them; My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.

My servant David

It could refer to the house of David, since all the kings of Judah were descendants of David.

It could be talking about Jesus, THE Son of David. He is the Good Shepherd.

(Jer 23:5 NKJV) "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

This could be talking about David himself being resurrected to rule over Israel during the Millennium.

(Ezek 37:25 NKJV) "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
Ezekiel will make several references to “David” during the Millennium. In one reference, this “prince” makes a “sin offering”, something very unusual for Jesus to be doing, but perhaps something appropriate for David.

(Ezek 45:22 NKJV) "And on that day the prince shall prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering.

:24 "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

:25 "I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.

:26 "I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.

:27 "Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

showers of blessing (vs. 26)Israel lived in an arid land that depended greatly upon the rains for survival.

It seems that in the Scriptures this idea of the “showers” is a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit.

(Psa 133 NKJV) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! {2} It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. {3} It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing; Life forevermore.
Unity among believers is good – it produces a result, like the oil running down the priest’s head – a picture of the Holy Spirit.

When we learn to live in unity with other believers, God blesses with the work of His Spirit.

And it is also pictured as the “dew”.

(Psa 72:6 NKJV) He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, Like showers that water the earth.
(Hosea 6:3 NKJV) Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
(Hosea 14:5 NKJV) I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon.

There’s an old hymn, “There will be showers of blessing” based on this verse.

Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need; mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.

:28 "And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.

:29 "I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore.

garden of renown –

(Eze 34:29 NLT) 29 “And I will give them a land famous for its crops…

:30 "Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people," says the Lord GOD.'"

:31 "You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God," says the Lord GOD.


Good Shepherds

There are good shepherds and there are the “wannabees” …
Once upon a time there was a shepherd tending his sheep at the edge of a country road. A brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee screeches to a halt next to him. The driver, a young man dressed in a Briani suit, Cerutti shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Jovial Swiss wrist watch, and a Bhs tie gets out and asks the shepherd, “If I can guess how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?” The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the sprawling field of sheep and says, “Okay.” The young man parks the SUV, connects his notebook and wireless modem, enters a NASA site, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms, then prints a 150 page report on his high tech mini printer. He then turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep here.” The shepherd answers, “That’s correct! You can have your sheep.” The young man takes one of the animals and puts it in the back of his vehicle. The shepherd looks at him and asks, “Now, if I guess your profession, will you pay me back in kind?” The young man answers, “Sure.” The shepherd says, “You are a consultant.” “Exactly! How did you know?” asks the young man. “Very simple,” answers the shepherd. “First, you came here without being called. Second, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew. Third, you don’t understand anything about my business - and I’d really like to have my dog back.”
A good shepherd knows his sheep (without needing a computer to do it).
Qualities of a Good Shepherd (vss. 11-20)
1.        Searches for the sheep (vs. 11)
2.        Feeds the sheep in a good pasture (vs. 14)
3.        Makes the sheep lie down (vs. 15)
4.        Helps the broken and sick (vs. 16)
5.        He will take the side of the weak against the fat (vs. 20)


Who can you count on?

From time to time you too will be let down by your “shepherds”. You will find that people will disappoint you. Those who are “over” you will not be good shepherds.
So, who do you look to?
Look to God. He says that He will be the Shepherd over His people. David wrote,
(Psa 23 NKJV) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. {2} He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. {3} He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. {4} Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. {5} You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. {6} Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Ezekiel 35

:1-15 Judgment on Edom

:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:2 "Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it,

Mount Seir – the mountainous home of the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, the father of the Israelites. They lived to the southeast, and were constantly a problem for Israel.

When Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, the Edomites joined in with the pillaging of the city. They had allied with Babylon against Judah.

Ezekiel had already given a prophecy earlier talking about God’s judgment on Edom (Eze. 25:12-14).

It has been suggested that this judgment against Edom is a picture of God’s judgment against all of Israel’s enemies when Jesus returns.

Just look at a couple of the verses …

:6 "therefore, as I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you.

:11 "therefore, as I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will do according to your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them; and I will make Myself known among them when I judge you.

:15 "As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom; all of it! Then they shall know that I am the LORD."'


Reaping and Sowing

The judgment on Edom is a great picture of how we reap what we sow:
They didn’t hate blood, so blood is what they’d get (vs. 6)
God would judge them “according to their anger” and “envy” (vs. 11)
As they “rejoiced” over Jerusalem’s fall, the world would rejoice at their fall (vs. 15)
God had built this into His relationship with His people, as far as how people would treat Israel and how they would be judged:
(Gen 12:3 NKJV) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Edom didn’t “bless” Israel, they cursed them.

Paul wrote,
(Gal 6:7-8 NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. {8} For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

Ezekiel 36

:1-15 The Mountains of Israel will be restored

:1 "And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD!

Ezekiel had a prophecy earlier concerning the mountains of Israel (6:1-7). In that prophecy he warned the mountains about the destruction that was coming from Babylon because of the sin of the people.

This prophecy will be a little different. This prophecy will talk about the restoration that God will bring to the mountains.

Whereas in Eze. 35, the judgment was coming against “Mount Seir”, the mountains of Israel’s enemies, in this chapter we will read about God blessing the mountains of Israel.

In verses 2-15, God speaks to the mountains and says that He will restore their fortunes, make them fruitful, and bring back the people.

:16-38 The New Covenant – the nation restored

:16 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

:17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.

He’s talking about a woman’s menstrual discharge, making her ceremonially unclean. It’s the same language that Isaiah uses to talk about how “righteous” the people were:

(Isa 64:6 NKJV) But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Before God’s judgments had come through the Babylonians, the people had been unclean because of their sin and rebellion.

:18 "Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it.

:19 "So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.

:20 "When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name; when they said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.'

(Eze 36:20 The Message) Wherever they went, they gave me a bad name. People said, ‘These are God’s people, but they got kicked off his land.’

:21 "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.

:22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.

:23 "And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.

hallowed in you – being treated as “holy” by the people. The nations will know who God is by how we treat Him.

God cares about our conduct. The people of Israel had brought shame to God’s name because of their actions. Our actions are a reflection of the God we serve.

(1 Pet 3:8-16 NKJV) Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; {9} not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. {10} For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. {11} Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. {12} For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil." {13} And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? {14} But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." {15} But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; {16} having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

We need to treat Him as “holy” in our hearts. Our actions also need to reflect the good God we serve.

:24 "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

There was a regathering of the nation of Israel after the Babylonian captivity, but they were scattered again after their defeat by Rome in AD 70.

There has been a regathering of the nation since it was founded again in 1948, but there will again be a scattering under the antichrist.

At the end of the Tribulation period, there will be one more regathering, which is the one being described here (Mat. 24:31)

:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

:27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

:28 "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

This is the New Covenant with Israel. This will happen to the Jews as a nation after Jesus comes back (Rom. 11:26-27).

We get to live under the New Covenant now, because of what Jesus did on the cross and because we have chosen to believe now.

:29 "I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you.

:30 "And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.

:31 "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations.

Sometimes we feel that we need to tell people how sinful they are, that we are the one that should bring conviction on people. And there is a place for confronting people about their sin.

But the conviction brought here happens in a different way.

These people will be brought under conviction by having seen God’s grace and love.

(Rom 2:4 NKJV) Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

When we’ve been touched by God’s grace and love, we look at ourselves and realize how bad we’ve been.

:32 "Not for your sake do I do this," says the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!"

God doesn’t do this because we are good enough (for our sake). He does it because of grace. He does it because of love. He does it for His sake.

:33 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt.

:34 "The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by.

:35 "So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.'

:36 "Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it."

:37 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock.

:38 "Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the LORD."' "


Rebuilding the waste places (vss. 25-36)

This is what God does to a life that is nothing more than a filthy rag.
1.     He washes us clean (vs. 25)
2.     He gives us a new heart (vs. 26)
3.     He puts His Spirit inside us (vs. 27)
4.     He causes us to be fruitful (vs. 30)
5.     He rebuilds the ruins (vs. 36)
It reminds me of the land around the old Ice House. The developer didn’t buy the property in order to renovate the old run-down shacks. He bought it to build a new thing.
God is in the business of taking ruined lives and making a new beginning.
(Mark 5:1-20 NKJV) Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. {2} And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, {3} who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, {4} because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. {5} And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. {6} When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. {7} And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me." {8} For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" {9} Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." {10} Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. {11} Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. {12} So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." {13} And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. {14} So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. {15} Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. {16} And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. {17} Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. {18} And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. {19} However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." {20} And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.