The Promise of God: I Will!
The Promise of God: I Will!
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
† In the Name of Jesus, our King †
May the comfort that comes from receiving the Grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ sustain you, as we wait for the joyful return of our King, Jesus the Messiah!
At Least 18 times…the work of a shepherd
One part of the Feast of Christ the King Sunday is the purest celebration, as we look forward to seeing God in all His glory, as we hear Him welcome us home.
Another part to consider, I think, is the relief, for the battle is over. Not the battle on the grand cosmic scale. That battle ended when the ladies found the tombstone rolled away. I was thinking the battles we face individually, the battles with life’s daily challenges, the people we interact with, who challenge us, and the inner battles we deal with, the anxiety, the pain, and yes, the sin.
Yet even as we celebrate Jesus as our King, as our Lord, we also celebrate His being the Shepherd King, the one who will guide us through every aspect of life, and frees us from the stuff that hinders us knowing God’s love and peace, the stuff that hinders us right now, right here.
We see that in the Old Testament reading today, as 18 times in English, and more in Hebrew we hear God making us a promise. He makes you and me, and everyone that hears His voice a single promise.
That promise is described in detail but it boils down to this. God promises, “I will!”
“I will be your shepherd”
So we are going to look at what that means, using the phrases said over and over…so that we would know His promise.
The first part of the shepherd’s work, described multiple times – is that God will search us out. Two words used here for searching.
The first describes the intensity and range of the search. To look for something with incredible diligence, without consideration of effort and range. To look in every place, under every stone, and under the stone under that. God searches for us far and wide, wherever we are, whatever trouble we’ve gotten ourselves into.
The second is more along the lines of a very thorough examination of our situation, to understand our brokenness in order to care for us. As we will hear about in our advent readings, the God who will care for us so tenderly that He will not break a damaged reed, but nourish it back to health, or a dying ember in a fire, that He will restore to a burning inferno. It says He will bandage us, those who are broken and strengthen us.
He will do this, He is doing it right now, as we dwell in His presence.
Bring them safely home
The next “I will” our Shepherd promises is to bring us safely home. For the Jewish people, the promise was to bring them back from where they were taken into exile, either by the Assyrians, or the Babylonians. For us, the captivity is no less severe, but we are more likely to willingly enter it. For sin not only tempts us, it drives and drags us away from God. It doesn’t matter the sin, whether murder, whether sexual sin, whether gossip or coveting what others have.
But Jesus will bring us home, as He searches us out, where ever we are, whatever mess we’ve gotten ourselves, He will rescue and provide for us, and cares for us.
Feed/provide pasture land
And on this journey, He cares for us, He doesn’t leave us alone.
Numerous times he talks of feeding us, of providing us safe pastures, providing us the nourishment we need. In verse 16, he defines that nourishment, what He feeds us is justice, righteousness,
And you could say because of Christ’s coming, we become what He feeds us, we are counted as righteous, that on judgment day, that is what the Father sees.
But that is what happens, as God nourishes us with His word, and with the word, the promise, that makes the Lord’s Supper more than just bread and wine.
He searches us out, rescues us, brings us home and nourishes us, with His word, His body and Blood!
I the Lord, will be their God!
Which brings us to the final I will, which is even more compelling, more incredible than Jesus being our shepherd, the one who searches and heals, rescues us and brings us home, nourishing us all the way.
verse 24 says it well, I, YHWH (the LORD will be their God, and Jesus will be the prince the ruler, the King of His People, for God HAS SPOKEN.
May we hear this clearly, for this Is the God who so dearly loves us. The God who made us His own.
May we rely and depend upon His work, to the day we are all found in His glory! AMEN!