God commanded Ezekiel to “prophesy against the shepherds of Israel.” His people’s leaders were neglecting their duties – and worse. “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves!” he said. “Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? . . .
The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick . . . bound up that which was broken . . . brought again that which was driven away, [or] 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.
God will hold the shepherds accountable, he says, but then he makes us a happier promise: Even if others fail us, one Shepherd is devoted and tireless. When no mortal notices or cares, he will find us and save us himself.
I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered. . . .
I will feed them in good pasture. . . .
I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. . . .
I will save my flock. . . .
I will make with them a covenant of peace . . . and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness. . . .
There shall be showers of blessing. (Ezekiel 34:1-31)