Summary: The shepherds of Israel were guilty of bringing God’s judgment on them and their poeple, in the same way, God’s shepherds today have failed the Church.
THE SHEPHERDS HAVE FAILED US
BY JERRY FALWELL
I’m continuing my theme of national revival.
I’m going to focus on just one group in the phrase, “My People.” Today I’m going to focus on pastors. I’m going to show how the shepherds of Israel were guilty of bringing God’s judgment on them and their people. In the same way, God’s shepherds today have failed the church.
The formula for revival (2 X 7 = 14).
If pastors will do four things (humble, pray, seek, repent), God will do three things (hear, forgive, heal).
“If my people (pastors), which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).
B. GOD’S CHARGE AGAINST SHEPHERDS.
1. Ezekiel 34:1-10.
“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
2. Who are today’s shepherds?
The Living Bible adds the phrase -
“The shepherds, the leaders of Israel” (34:2). The word shepherd in the original is also pastor. But the word “leaders” means more. It means
a. Pastors, missionaries, ministers of Christian Education, youth pastors, professors of religion, heads of mission boards, directors of inter- denominational agencies.
b. Faithful Shepherds: Those who are faithful to God’s Word, faithful to people and faithful to a holy walk with God.
c. Unfaithful Shepherds: Those who deny God’s word, who won’t teach it, who compromise its message, who ignore God’s people, and who lead sinful lives.
C. THE SIX FAILURES OF SHEPHERDS.
God saw six failures of the shepherds in Israel; these are the same failures today.
1. Put selfish interest first -
“Woe to the shepherds that do feed themselves”
(v. 2). This does not mean basic necessities. The Bible teaches “Muzzle not the ox that treadeth the corn” which means God’s men should get paid. The NIV says, “You drink the milk, clothe yourself with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock” (v. 3).
a. Take a salary for preaching but put in less than 40 hours.
b. Take the responsibility to shepherd, but do not visit needy people.
c. Take the position of leader, but don’t give direction.
2. Not preached/taught the Word.
“Woe to the shepherds . . . shall not the shepherd feed the flock?” (v.2 ). The Living Bible says, “You let your flock starve” (v. 2).
a. Their sin was preaching messages that amount to
popular psychology, book reviews, or practical advice, but not the Word of God. “Preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2).
b. When they preach the “blessings” of the Bible (prosperity theology) but not warn people of sin.
c. When they refuse to preach unpopular topics.
3. Not cared for needy people.
“The diseased (weak) have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick” (v. 4).
a. No interest in people.
b. No interest in ministry.
4. No evangelism.
“Neither have ye sought that which was lost” (v. 4). The Living Bible says, “Ye have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost” (v. 4).