Read Ezekiel 34:11-31

For thus says the Lord GOD:

I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.  As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.

 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land.

 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

 As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats:

 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?   And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?

 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide,

 I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.  I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.  And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

 I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely.  I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.  The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them.  They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid.  I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations.

 They shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD.  You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord GOD.

 

 From Rev. Dr. William B. Allen, Regional Minister Emeritus

“For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out… You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord God.”

            This is great Advent passage, speaking of God’s coming into the world to rescue God’s people.  And that is exactly what Advent is about.  God comes to us.

            This is an assurance of rescue and abundance for the people of God.  It is also a wake-up call!  While God will lovingly take care of the downtrodden and the upright; God will also “take care of” those who abuse others and despoil the earth, only in a different way.

            So we have a promise of redemption.  We also have a clarion call to treat people well and to honor the creation. 

            When we deal with people it will be well to remember this judgment: “Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.”  

            When caring for the earth, this is a pertinent comment: “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?  And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?”

            Advent is a very good time for us to contemplate our lifestyles as we await once more the coming of the Lord.

            We will want to be those of whom it is said:  “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely.  I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.”

Open my eyes, Lord, to the suffering of your creation, and my ears to your clear call to speak for justice and peace, in the spirit of Christ.

These daily readings are offered by the Order of Ministry

of the Christian Church in West Virginia for your Advent journey.

They may also be accessed online or subscribed for email delivery at:

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