What If A Pastor Doesn’t Feed His Flock? (Ezekiel 34:8-10)

The Bible often uses the analogy of a shepherd tending his flock in order to demonstrate how a pastor should tend the congregation that God has placed under his care.  Ezekiel 34:8-10 sends a stern warning to our pastors:

“… because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock…  I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves.  I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.”

We try to color coat the way today’s churches are drifting away from the basics of Bible study and prayer.  We like to call it a new paradigm, but the truth is that many churches today lack a shepherd to teach them the truth of God’s Word.  As a result, many churches have indeed been plundered and their congregations have become food for the predators in shepherd’s clothing who use them to satisfy their own appetites for power and money to feed their own egos.  These predators care more about themselves than they do about their flock–a new paradigm indeed.

Wow, God is very blunt here.  How would you like to hear God tell you that He is against you?  He says that He will hold these false shepherds accountable for His flock.

Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ, and each person is accountable for his own belief in the gospel, and for the individual decisions that he makes in living the Christian life.  Still, this passage brings into focus the corporate aspect of our faith.  We don’t live isolated lives, and God has put a particular process into place for helping individual believers to bring the maximum amount of glory to God.  This process includes a pastor-teacher who is to care for the spiritual needs of his flock.

God’s dire warning to wayward pastors is that he will remove them from their leadership roles, leaving the members of that congregation without the resources that they need to feed themselves.  Just as in the physical world, the ignorant sheep are constantly in need of a shepherd who will lead them to new pastures with fresh grass to fill their stomachs.  Instead of this analogy, many pastors today are instead feeding themselves off their own flock.

However, God promises to rescue these sheep from the mouths of such pastors.  He will not let this situation continue forever.  The sheep will somehow be able to find sources of food.  However, it’s the wayward pastor who should be nervous about his future.

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