“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after My sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” (Ezekiel 34:12)
Scripture is full of images of Jesus as a Shepherd. Psalm 23 has its calming tones. We read in Luke 15 how a shepherd will seek out one of his lambs gone astray and rejoices when it is found. Though often linked with the principle of salvation, this parable can be applied to any of the Lord’s own who have gone to seek other pastures.
With this Ezekiel verse, new thoughts came to my mind. I meditated on the challenges that many of us face when we are dwelling with our caring Shepherd, trusting Him and clinging to Him for our strength.
The Lord has countless followers, sheep who depend on Him to meet their needs. In this way, because there are so many, they are scattered – meaning they cover the whole earth. Not one is missed by His watchful eyes even if some choose to wander off.
Those who remain true and do not roam can be crushed with the cares within. These showed up when the day of clouds and darkness sent these sheep into dwelling places unimaginable. Did the Shepherd make some mistake? No.
What I recognize as I read this verse is that our “rescue” is not from our wandering off, nor that we are in need of salvation. Rather we are in specific need of being released from the feelings that can overcome – despair, false guilt, self-condemnation – the things that can bring shadows that may seem to block out the sun of the Shepherd’s care.
He is ever near, looking out for each of us as He understands our deepest needs. He is so pleased when we choose to stay near him as well.
Prayer: I lay down in your pasture of care, dear Lord. Help me to receive the light of your love that is ever present. May it shine through any cloud that tries to invade the space that only You can fill. Amen.
About the Author
Lynn Severance is a retired elementary classroom teacher. She lives in Lynnwood, Washington. She writes to encourage others as God has encouraged her during 27 years of living with daily physical challenges.