God Really Cares

MEMORY VERSE: “Ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.” —Ezekiel 34:31

EZEKIEL 34:1, 2, 7-15

THE title of our lesson, “God Really Cares,” is appropriate, for although the Israelites were now a captive people in Babylon, God arranged that Ezekiel should serve them as prophet. In the message of this lesson he is instructed by the Lord to warn the “shepherds” of the Lord’s people to give attention to the needs of the people, rather than to use their office for their own selfish ends. “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?”

Some commentators suggest that the “shepherds” here referred to were probably the civil rulers of the Israelites, including perhaps some of the religious rulers. Ezekiel’s message was, in the first instance, delivered in Babylon, and to a captive people. It is doubtful that they could carry on with their governmental affairs as they did prior to the captivity, but they may well have been granted considerable liberty. It would seem that there were those who were considered leaders among them, to look after the interests of the people, and it was to these that Ezekiel directed the message of the lesson, referring to them as “shepherds.”

The reason the Israelites were in captivity was that they had persistently been disobedient to God. This was largely due to their unfaithful leadership. To a great extent the Israelites followed the example of their kings and priests. When these were faithful the people walked in the ways of the Lord more consistently than otherwise.

And it was an unfaithful people whom the Lord permitted to be taken captive to Babylon. This does not mean that all the people were unfaithful, for some were truly loyal to their God, and served him faithfully. Daniel and his three friends were among these; and, of course, there was Ezekiel himself. But God was dealing with the Israelites as a nation.

Ezekiel’s assignment was to preach righteousness to the people, with the thought that at the end of their seventy years of captivity they would be prepared to return to their own land. Many of them did, at that time, have respect unto the promises of God, and when Cyrus, king of Persia, issued his decree of liberation these took advantage of it; but many of the Israelites preferred to remain in Babylon, indicating that their faith in the promises of God was at a low ebb.

The exile, Daniel, who became highly placed in the Babylonian government, and later in the Medo-Persian government, was concerned over the sinful ways of his people, and prayed to God on their behalf. This eloquent prayer is recorded in the 9th chapter of the Book of Daniel. In it he acknowledges the sins of the Israelites, and asks that God’s mercy be extended toward them.

In the last five verses of the lesson the Lord reminds the Israelites that while their shepherds were unfaithful, he himself would be a Shepherd to his people. He assures them that his care as a Shepherd would extend long beyond their captivity in Babylon. God, in his foreknowledge, knew that for the most part the Israelites would continue to be unfaithful, and that this would result in their worldwide scattering, which as we now know continued for nearly two thousand years.

But as their Shepherd the Lord promised that he would bring the Israelites “out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.”

The Lord continues: “I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock.”

Our memory verse continues God’s assurance that he considered Israel his flock, and that he would continue to care for them. Verses 23-31 of the chapter indicate clearly that the promise extends into the Millennial Age.


Who was Ezekiel and where did he prophesy?

What is the burden of the message in this lesson which Ezekiel was commissioned to proclaim?

Who is the great Shepherd of God’s people?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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