A few years ago I heard John Piper say that he prays Psalm 119:18 before he opens the Bible to meet with God: Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I have been trying to do the same thing ever since. This morning the Lord definitely answered my prayer.
I was in Ezekiel 34. In this chapter God has called Ezekiel to prophesy against the leaders of Israel (kings, priests, and prophets). God calls these leaders shepherds and tells them that he must rescue his people (sheep) from their leadership because they have been seeking their own gain at the expense of the people (vv. 8-10).
The way God will rescue his sheep is by making himself their shepherd – I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep (v. 15). That’s definitely cool, but it gets really good in verse 23. Here he says, I will set over [the people] one shepherd, my servant David… Wait a sec, didn’t God just say he would be their shepherd and now he is saying his servant David will be their shepherd? How do we reconcile this?
Well, in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, through the prophet Nathan, God says that he will establish the throne of David’s offspring forever. This is a prophesy referring to Christ’s rule, and Ezekiel 34:23 is obviously not referring to David (since he has long been dead), but rather, his offspring who would rule at a later time.
So, once we’ve made the connection that Ezekiel 34:23 is referring to Jesus as the one shepherd, it is not hard to reconcile this reality with verse 15 where God says he will be the shepherd of the people. How can God and his servant David be one shepherd? Because Jesus, the offspring of David, is both man and God. God and his servant David are one in the same. They are united in the person of Jesus Christ.
Fast-forward about 600 years and we read in John 10 the words of Jesus: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (v.11). Prophesy fulfilled.
See, I told you…God answered my prayer! This is truly wondrous!