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Woe to Absent Shepherds

posted Feb 7, 2013, 1:29 PM by David Gerhart   [ updated Feb 7, 2013, 2:04 PM ]

Suffering Christians should be concerned when over a period of months or years there is a continued absence of meaningful contact with the Pastors and Elders in their church.  This meaningful contact would happen outside of church services, and not in "passing by" -- A Shepherds' love is expressed in the form of visitation.  The absence of participation in the lives of struggling sheep is an indicator of a sterile ministry.

"You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally." Ezekiel 34:4

An offer of an “accountability partner” does not count.  We are accountable to God, then our Spouse ... and to make amends when we sin against another (like stealing his truck.)  As if repeatedly confessing errors to another person wouldn't eventually result in scorn and judgement.

When we sin against ourselves (our bodies which are temples of the spirit) ... our issues are with the Lord and our amends are to Him.

An accountability partner attempts to elevate people pleasing behavior to the point that it “interferes” with doing wrong.  If we’re more apt to stop drinking because we’ll disappoint "Joe" and less concerned about disappointing Jesus?  We have deeper issues with our faith.

Psychology and Counseling tools devised in the secular world have crept into our Christian relationships.  We need to be careful.

On absent Shepherds of Ezekiel 34 Dainiel Isaac Block comments:

"... but in this mtaphorical context, such slaughter represents the most blatant violation of the sheperd's role, presumably judicial murder.  The triad of accusations concludes with a reiteration of the general charge in V.2. The rulers have taken excellent care of themselves, but they have not cared for the flock.

The crimes of omission reflect a stratum of _ "pastors" representing the antithesis of responsible shepherds.  First they have shown no concern for the physical health of the flock.  They have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick or bound up the injured.  Second they have shown no concern for the sheep that have left the flock.  They have neither gone after the strays nor sought the lost. Instead of caring for the flock, the shepherds have ruled over them with harshness and brutality." Daniel Isaac Block The Book of Ezekiel pp 282-283

If you've been "excused" from fellowship, and the Pastor doesn't follow up?  Be comforted.  Go on to read further in this area of scripture:

“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 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 34:11-12