Ezekiel 34: A new leader (part four)

This is week two of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

The last few days have focused on the leaders of God’s people. But it’s not just the shepherds who get a word from Ezekiel; the sheep get a message, too. Let’s look at the rest of the chapter now.

The flock judged with justice

Ezekiel 34:17 “As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.”

Although the whole flock is addressed, it’ll soon become clear that it’s the wealthier ones who are about to be critiqued for their failure to share with the poor.

Continue reading

Ezekiel 34: A new leader (part three)

This is week two of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

Yesterday, we saw how clearly Jesus was the antidote to Israel’s bad shepherds: God himself, doing all the things his shepherds were supposed to do, to the point of laying down his life for the sheep. What’s more, we are now the ones who are led by the Good Shepherd—God’s new people with a new leader.

So in one sense, Ezekiel’s critique of the bad shepherds is not directed at us. We’ve got that new leader he promised, so we don’t need a human king or priest to represent us before God anymore. We have direct access to the shepherd.  

Continue reading

Ezekiel 34: A new leader (part two)

This is week two of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from yesterday’s post.

In the place of the bad shepherds we read about yesterday, God promises that one day he himself will be their Good Shepherd. But how will this take place?

The Good Shepherd

Now I know you know the answer’s Jesus because—well, that’s always the answer. But I want you to notice how clearly he’s the answer:

Jesus critiques the bad shepherds

Firstly, Jesus critiques the bad shepherds; he calls Israel’s leaders to account for failing to lead the people well. He does it a lot. But have you noticed how he does it in the famous parable of the Good Samaritan?

Continue reading

Ezekiel 34: A new leader (part one)

This is week two of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us this week.

A series reboot

When it comes to blockbuster movies, this millennium has been the age of the reboot. Fresh out of creative ideas? Never mind, just find something that worked a generation or two ago—cast a new lead actor, sprinkle in the latest in CGI—and you’ve got yourself a reboot.  

The most obvious ones are the superhero movies: Superman; Batman; Spiderman. Each time going back and telling the origin story all over again. With a shiny new lead to be the face of the franchise.

Continue reading

Ezekiel 33: A new people (part four)

On Monday we looked at the background to Ezekiel’s prophetic message, and the big picture of a promised reboot of God’s people. If you’re just joining us, it’s best to start there and work your way forward.

Having looked yesterday at how this chapter finds its completion in Jesus and God’s people today, we’re now going to step back into the chapter and ask what it might have to say to us.

The call to repent

Firstly, there’s the call to repent. To turn away from doing evil, and obey God. To listen to God’s word and put it into practice. If Israel was held accountable for not listening to their watchman, how much more will we be held accountable for ignoring our watchman.

Continue reading

Ezekiel 33: A new people (part three)

On Monday we looked at the background to Ezekiel’s prophetic message, and the big picture of a promised reboot of God’s people. If you’re just joining us, it’s best to start there and work your way forward. Today, we start to ask the question: what’s that got to do with us?

We’ve got to be careful when we start applying Ezekiel to us (or, indeed, any part of the Old Testament). Because, as I said on Monday, it’s not addressed to us. We’re neither the people of Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonian army, nor are we the exiles by the Kebar River. So we’ve got a bit of work to do before we can answer some of the scary questions this chapter has probably raised for you. Questions like:

Continue reading

Ezekiel 33: A new people (part two)

On Monday we looked at the background to Ezekiel’s prophetic message, and the big picture of a promised reboot of God’s people. If you’re just joining us, it’s best to start there and work your way forward. Today, we continue looking at the text of Ezekiel chapter 33.

Yesterday, we saw how God can’t be accused of being unjust. In the past, he’s appointed countless watchmen to warn Jerusalem—and they’ve all done their job. But still, Jerusalem didn’t repent. And here, among the exiles on the Kebar river, he’s set Ezekiel as his watchman who’s now about to do his job.

Continue reading

Ezekiel 33: A new people (part one)

Yesterday we looked at the background to Ezekiel’s prophetic message, and the big picture of a promised reboot of God’s people. If you’re just joining us, it’s best to start there. Today, we look at the text of Ezekiel chapter 33.

Ezekiel the watchman

Let’s look at the first half of the chapter to see what it was saying to those who originally heard it back in the early 6th century BC – those exiles by the Kebar river, waiting for word on the fate of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 33:1-2 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man…”

Continue reading

Ezekiel 33: God’s people, rebooted

Today, we begin a four week series through several important chapters in the book of Ezekiel (33-37). You can listen to it from the sermon audio section of this site, or enjoy it in the traditional, text-based format we all know and love…

Wouldn’t it be good if you could reboot life like you can reboot a computer? This relationship isn’t going so well; control, alt, delete—reboot. Done. I hate my career choices; hold down the power key for one second and press restart. Done.

Wouldn’t it be good if you could reboot your life when you make a mess of it? When your history is cluttered with the evidence of your bad choices; when you’ve stored too many negative thoughts in your memory and it’s crowding out your ability to function; when life freezes on the blue screen of sin and death. Wouldn’t it be great to reboot and start over again?

Continue reading