Monday Preverb – 15April2024



  • This week’s theme is new identity, new power.
      • That identity is in Jesus Christ.
  • The theme for next week is the good shepherd … NOT surprising, given that next Sunday is called Good Shepherd Sunday.






Part ONE



The Green in Rugged Pastures
Greg Williams


One of the most famously quoted Psalms is Psalm 23, and if you don’t understand the countryside in Israel, you can miss part of the meaning of the Psalm.

You know the Psalm, which begins like this:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Psalm 23:1-2 (NRSV)

If you go to the countryside in Israel, you can see what the psalmist looked at as he penned the words “green pastures.”  Even today there are teenagers from shepherd families out walking their charges on grazing trails carved into the land since the time of Abraham.  But the “green pastures” the Psalmist referred to are nothing like the luscious midwestern landscape this may bring to mind for a westerner.

The landscape is rugged semi-desert, not the waist-high grasses that we may think of. The first time one biblical scholar saw the sheep out grazing here, he thought they were eating rocks!  But yet this is the place that David calls “green pastures.”  Look closer, and there is just enough moisture in the air and scarce rainfall to grow the smallest shoots of vegetation around the rocks.

There’s just enough for a few mouthfuls every few steps, and the sheep have to keep moving, they must keep following the shepherd to find sustenance.  There’s no lush green pastures to sit and get fat in, but there’s enough to make it through and keep going, and when the grass runs out, the sheep trust the shepherd will bring them to more.

This changes our understanding of Christ.  While the pictures of a very Caucasian Jesus walking his sheep through waving pastures are nice and comforting for many, they are wholly inaccurate.  What David saw was the much more true-to-life picture of a rugged landscape in which the sheep’s only chance of survival is the shepherd’s guidance and love.

One of the greatest questions of our Christian life is: Do we trust the shepherd to give us enough?

Most of the time in life, we’re not flooded with spiritual, physical, or relational bounty, but if we keep moving, we find that Jesus guides us.   A mouthful here, a mouthful there.  A kind word from a stranger, an unexpected gift from a friend, a favorite meal made by your spouse.

This is how our Lord Jesus leads us to green pastures.  Our shepherd gives us all we need, and the point is to trust him and keep following.

I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.




What Good is a Dead Shepherd?

John 10:11-18 ESV

One of the most memorable lines from the movie, Forest Gump, was when Gump says, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.”  As the movie unfolded it did seem that Gump was the smartest man in the room on this one very important point.  That movie may challenge us with the question: Do you know what love is?  And if so, how are you sure?  That is also a good question to ponder within our cultural climate where many claims of love are being paraded around, some in sharp contrast with each other.   So, how do we arrive at the point that we, along with Gump, can say “I know what love is.”

For believers, we do not have to come up with our own answer to that question.  We trust that Jesus has already revealed to us the deepest knowing of love by showing us the identity of his Father, who is love and the source of love.  Jesus doesn’t just tell us or show us what love is, although he does that as well, but he invites us into that love in a very real and abiding way.  Jesus extends the love of the Father to us, the very love he has experienced and shared for all eternity, in order that we can know God for who he is and participate in the love he has for us and for others.  It’s only from this ground that we can truly say “we know what love is,” or more accurately, “who love is.”

However, just saying we know what love is doesn’t make it so.   As we look around our world today, we will find plenty of people, movements, organizations, programs, leaders, and other voices that claim they know what love is, and therefore, you should follow their example or teaching in order to be considered a “loving” person as well.  Have you seen this displayed in the media around you, whether it be mainstream news outlets, Hollywood movies, political figures, or other sources that seem to have a stake in virtual signaling?  After all, no one is going to follow someone who openly admits that they are not loving or who has no idea what love is.  That would not be good for ratings at any level.  So, we are bombarded with the message of love from every corner of our world.  And we must discern who is trustworthy and who is not.

The only way to tell the difference is to know the real thing.  For example, the best way to spot a counterfeit hundred-dollar bill is know what distinguishes a real one.  And that is what we are given today in our text in John 10 when it comes to knowing the difference between the love of the Father and the counterfeit “loves” that masquerade around as the real thing.  And we can trust what we are being told about love in this text because it is the words of Jesus himself, the one who has come from the Father, the only one who can tell us what the love of the Father really is.  And we should be prepared that this subject is too deep to be contained in some rational or logical argument.  The reality goes beyond what we can verify by our own reasoning powersSo, Jesus comes to us with an image, a metaphor, as a way to penetrate deeper than mere words can explain.  How often does scripture use metaphors, images, and parables when speaking of something that is beyond what can be grasped by direct observation or scientific inquiry?  And beyond that, we must begin from a place of faith.

In order to receive what the Lord is telling us; we must first trust that he is the one who is in the position to tell us. 

  • We must trust that what he is saying is not further propaganda that serves some other means. 
  • We must trust that he is not only telling us and giving us a picture of what love is, but that he is in himself the embodiment and living proof of that love.   
  • Or as we like to say, we must know that this one doesn’t just talk the talk but has walked the walked.

Let’s begin with the first verse and see the picture the Lord is going to give us.

I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

Jesus likens himself to a shepherd.  This is a metaphor ripe with meaning, especially considering God’s history with Israel.  It’s not the first time this image has been invoked.  Our call to worship Psalm bears witness to that.  God has already declared himself as the shepherd of his people recorded in various scriptures like Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34.  So, why does Jesus go further in saying that he is the “good” shepherd, instead of just saying he is the “shepherd” as these other scriptures record?  Why are we given the descriptor of “good?”

  • First, this sets up a distinction that must be considered when identifying the true Shepherd of Israel, from other competing or counterfeit shepherds.  The adjective “good”, which also can mean right, proper, honorable, and beautiful, alerts us to the fact that there can be “bad” or wrong, improper, dishonorable, and downright ugly “shepherds” that parade around as angels of light.   We must discern the difference.  And Jesus goes further to help us discern that difference with the actions that will accompany a “good shepherd.”  And that action is described as one who “lays down his life for the sheep.”  You will notice in these eight verses that a reference to laying down one’s own life appears five times.  This clues us in on a major distinction between what constitutes a “good” shepherd and what does not.
  • Second, by including the adjective “good,” Jesus is building our trust in him and in the Father who sent him.  We do not want to put our trust in any ole shepherd.  We need to know that he is trustworthy, that he is indeed good.  And we don’t want to follow a shepherd who is good in name only.  Self-proclaimed labels are worthless.  The label must match the reality that it indicates.  So, the authenticating and parallel action of a good shepherd is boldly proclaimed by the Lord as one who “lays down his life for the sheep.”  That’s a measurement that will flush out any “bad” shepherds who are only in it for self-gain.  It’s a high bar to reach.

Jesus will now go further to describe in more detail what we can expect from a counterfeit shepherd.  He is helping us discern where we are to place our trust.

He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (John 10:12-13)

Jesus is not stretching the metaphor further than the Old Testament scriptures have already done.  Throughout the biblical witness, we find many images of shepherds that did not live up to the description of “good.”

  • In Isaiah 56, for example, the rulers of God’s people are described as shepherds who only care for themselves.  They prefer getting drunk when they should be watching over the flock.
  • In Jeremiah 10, Judah’s leadership is referred to as “stupid” shepherds who allowed the scattering of God’s sheep.
  • And in Ezekiel 34, a severe denunciation is given to the shepherds of Israel as they are accused of gorging themselves when they should have been feeding the sheep.   They are not concerned for the health and safety of the sheep.  In short, they do not love the sheep, rather they love their own power and control over the sheep that gets expressed with harshness and even violence.

Jesus is not saying something new here.  Perhaps Jesus knows we need the reminder that not all shepherds are good.  Not all those who come proclaiming to protect and save us are trustworthy.  Not all claims to “love” are in fact love at all.  Perhaps, Jesus knows our tendency to become naïve and then be deceived.  Even in his metaphor, he is serving as the Good Shepherd by giving a warning as a means of protecting the sheep.

Jesus uses a contrast twice that designates a true shepherd from a fake by comparing a “hired hand” to a “shepherd” that the sheep actually belong to.  That comparison brings to mind that hired hands are only in it for their livelihood.  As soon as their lively-hood is in jeopardy, not to mention their very lives, they can be counted on to head for the hills.  The contrast zeroes in on the fact that a “good” shepherd cares more for the sheep than he does for himself.  He is willing to lay down his life for the good of the sheep.  We can also see a contrast here between a “shepherd” and a hired hand who sees his relationship with the sheep as a contract that can be made null and void once the conditions change.  On the other hand, the good shepherd who will lay his life down for the sheep is a clear presentation of the covenant God who has committed himself for the good of his people, even at great cost to himself.  Further, the contrast between a “hired hand” and a good shepherd hints towards the distinction between a relationship of works versus a relationship of grace.

It may be a good reminder at this point to say that Jesus is using a metaphor.  Otherwise, logic would say that the “hired hand” should by all accounts save his own life and let the wolf snatch a sheep or two.  At least the hired hand will live to tend sheep another day.  After all, what “good” is a dead shepherd?  Ah, now that’s an interesting question.  Let’s look a little further and see what direction Jesus takes us in his metaphor.

I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:14-16)

It appears that Jesus is more concerned to use the metaphor to tell us who he is than who the “hired hands” are.  He again states that he is the “good shepherd.”  And that statement is followed up with the claim that the shepherd knows his sheep and that those sheep know him. Moreover, the manner of this knowing between shepherd and sheep is comparable to the way the Father knows the Son and the Son knows the Father.  That’s a startling claim.  Especially, when we take into account Jesus’ words later in verse 38 of this same chapter when he says, “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”  That’s some pretty serious intimate knowing.  What do we make of this?

Letting the metaphor take us beyond some literal relationship between sheep and shepherd, we are able to take Jesus’ words about “knowing” as belonging to his claim of being the “good shepherd.”  And this may shed some light on our previous question of “what good is a dead shepherd?”  If Jesus lays down his life for the sheep, wouldn’t that open the flock up for attacks from the wolf?  Or is Jesus speaking of something deeper that he does for the sheep in laying down his life?  Is it possible that what Jesus wants us to see is that what qualifies him as the Good Shepherd is that he is the one who has enabled us to know the Father with the same knowing the Son has of his Father?  Jesus is also the Good Shepherd in that he knows us as one of the sheep, not just as a hired hand.  After all, it is a shepherd who lays his life down that can identify with a sheep who has been snatched by a wolf.  Jesus is speaking way deeper about what “good” he brings to the sheep in his laying down of his life than some literal protection from death.  It is the death of the Good Shepherd that has brought the sheep into the fold of the life and love of Father, Son, and Spirit.  And as Jesus indicates, he is bringing other sheep into that fold as well.  And this is where we come full circle with our discussion about knowing what love is.  Let’s wrap up with the last two verses.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.  This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18)

Notice how interrelated Jesus and his Father are in Jesus’ laying down his life for the sheep.  They are both operating out of the same love.  Jesus is showing us the love of the Father.  We are to see that the Father loves us in the same way he loves his own Son, and the Son is loving us by the “authority” of the Father’s love.  There is no difference between the Father’s love for us and the love we see in Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who lays his life down for us.  And that love seeks to bring us into an intimate relationship of knowing the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  This is what gives Jesus the distinction of being the “Good” Shepherd.  Our greatest good is to be brought into a relationship with the Father, where we know him and where we are known by him.  John later will write this as a description of eternal life:

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

We must not end there.  Jesus also mentions in this closing verse that he not only lays his life down, but that he also “may take it up again.”  And with that statement we are reminded of what we are celebrating during this season of Easter.  Our Good Shepherd is a risen Shepherd.  He is still shepherding you and me, even in this text, to know him and his Father more.  He is continuing to love us with the very love the Father has for him so we too can come to rest in the assurance of knowing what love is.

The Good Shepherd is still warning us and guarding us against the “hired hands” who do not have our best interest in mind but would sell us out to the “wolf” at the first sight of cost to themselves.  We have a Good Shepherd indeed.  Through his death and resurrection, he has brought us into the one-fold of belonging to the one truly Good Shepherd.

So, what good is a dead shepherd?  His goodness lies in the truth of who he is.  He is the one who knows us as one of the sheep, all the way from birth to death.  When John writes of the crucifixion of Jesus, he portrays Jesus as the Passover Lamb.  This “dead” Shepherd however, lives and reigns, as John would later pen in the book of Revelation, as a Lamb, “standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6 ESV).  This reigning Shepherd is also our King, risen and reigning in the goodness of who he is as the Son of the Father who knows what love is.  And he lives to bring us into a knowing relationship with himself and his Father, to participate in that covenant love that will never leave or forsake us.

As we continue in our celebration of the Risen Lord, may we grow to know him more and more, learning to trust him as our Good Shepherd who leads us to know the Father in the same way he does.


Part TWO



John 10:11-18  New King James Version  

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.This command I have received from My Father.”  

What is your first impression of that passage?

Where does this text connect in your life or in the world?

So what?  How might this passage speak to us today?  What is the main takeaway for you?





John 10:11-13,14-18  New King James Version  

  • Whom do you think the “other sheep” are?
  • What do you understand the “one flock” to be?

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 


18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This command I have received from My Father.”  

  • Why do you think Jesus spoke about laying down His life so much?




Context BEFORE Context AFTER

John 10:1-10  NKJV 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came [a]before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:19-42  NKJV

Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is [c]mad. Why do you listen to Him?”

21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

The Shepherd Knows His Sheep

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in [d]doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, [e]as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Renewed Efforts to Stone Jesus

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”

33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and [f]believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.

The Believers Beyond Jordan

40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42 And many believed in Him there.





Small Group Discussion Questions

  • Have you noticed how many different voices invoke the label of love for their cause?
  • Can you think of some examples of messages within our world that claim to love or being loving?
  • Can you also see how some of these claims conflict with the descriptions of love found in the Bible?
  • Why can believers be assured of knowing what love is?
  • Discuss the significance of Jesus claiming to be the “Good” Shepherd, and not just the shepherd.
  • What are some differences you can see between a “hired hand” and a shepherd who lays his life down for the sheep?
  • What are some warnings about shepherds who are only “hired hands” that help us distinguish between those who have our best interests in mind and those who don’t?
  • In what ways does the Good Shepherd “know” his sheep and the sheep know him?
  • In your own words, following the metaphor in today’s text, how would you answer the question, “What good is a dead shepherd?”
  • How does Easter inform your answer?




  • The selected readings for next Sunday are …  Psalm 23:1-6 • Acts 4:5-12 • 1 John 3:16-24 • John 10:11-18
      • In our call to worship Psalm, the blessings of having the Lord as our Good Shepherd are displayed by use of the relationship between shepherd and sheep.
      • Acts 4 presents a contrast between some religious rulers who were more concerned with their reputation than for those in need, with that of the Apostles who put themselves at risk by not withholding the healing message of the gospel from someone who was sick.
      • In 1 John, love is authenticated by Jesus laying down his life for us, a love that we are called to participate in duringour relationships with others. 
      • The gospel reading in John records Jesus’ own words of disclosure on what it means for him to be the Good Shepherd.



Psalm 23  New King James Version  

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not [a]want.  
He makes me to lie down in [b]green pastures;  
He leads me beside the [c]still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; 
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will [d]dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Acts 4:5-12  New King James Version  

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’  12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 


1 John 3:16-24 New King James Version

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  

18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we [a]know that we are of the truth, and shall [b]assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave [c]us commandment.  

24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.  And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.  

Thus says the Lord:

“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who lays hold on it;
Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

Do not let the son of the foreigner
Who has joined himself to the Lord
Speak, saying,
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”;
Nor let the eunuch say,
“Here I am, a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give [a]them an everlasting name
That shall not be cut off.

“Also the sons of the foreigner
Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—
Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And holds fast My covenant—
Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says,
“Yet I will gather to him
Others besides those who are gathered to him.”

Israel’s Irresponsible Leaders

All you beasts of the field, come to devour,
All you beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind,
They are all ignorant;
They are all dumb dogs,
They cannot bark;
[b]Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yes, they are greedy[c] dogs
Which never[d] have enough.
And they are shepherds
Who cannot understand;
They all look to their own way,
Every one for his own gain,
From his own territory.
12 “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine,
And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink;
Tomorrow will be as today,
And much more abundant.”


  1. Isaiah 56:5 Lit. him
  2. Isaiah 56:10 Or Dreaming
  3. Isaiah 56:11 Lit. strong of soul
  4. Isaiah 56:11 Lit. do not know satisfaction

Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.

Thus says the Lord:

“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the peoples are [a]futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.”

Inasmuch as there is none like You, O Lord
(You are great, and Your name is great in might),
Who would not fear You, O King of the nations?
For this is Your rightful due.
For among all the wise men of the nations,
And in all their kingdoms,
There is none like You.
But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish;
A wooden idol is a [b]worthless doctrine.
Silver is beaten into plates;
It is brought from Tarshish,
And gold from Uphaz,
The work of the craftsman
And of the hands of the metalsmith;
Blue and purple are their clothing;
They are all the work of skillful men.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble,
And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.

11 Thus you shall say to them: “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.”

12 He has made the earth by His power,
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.
13 When He utters His voice,
There is a [c]multitude of waters in the heavens:
“And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

14 Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge;
Every metalsmith is put to shame by an image;
For his molded image is falsehood,
And there is no breath in them.
15 They are futile, a work of errors;
In the time of their punishment they shall perish.
16 The Portion of Jacob is not like them,
For He is the Maker of all things,
And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance;
The Lord of hosts is His name.

The Coming Captivity of Judah

17 Gather up your wares from the land,
[d]inhabitant of the fortress!

18 For thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will throw out at this time
The inhabitants of the land,
And will distress them,
That they may find it so.

19 Woe is me for my hurt!
My wound is severe.
But I say, “Truly this is an infirmity,
And I must bear it.”
20 My tent is plundered,
And all my cords are broken;
My children have gone from me,
And they are no more.
There is no one to pitch my tent anymore,
Or set up my curtains.

21 For the shepherds have become dull-hearted,
And have not sought the Lord;
Therefore they shall not prosper,
And all their flocks shall be scattered.
22 Behold, the noise of the report has come,
And a great commotion out of the north country,
To make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals.

23 Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
24 Lord, correct me, but with justice;
Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing.
25 Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You,
And on the families who do not call on Your name;
For they have eaten up Jacob,
Devoured him and consumed him,
And made his dwelling place desolate.


  1. Jeremiah 10:3 Lit. vanity
  2. Jeremiah 10:8 vain teaching
  3. Jeremiah 10:13 Or noise
  4. Jeremiah 10:17 Or you who dwell under siege

‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LordAs I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” — therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

God, the True Shepherd

11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [b]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the [c]residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up for them a garden[d] of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord God.’

31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.


  1. Ezekiel 34:4 harshness or rigor
  2. Ezekiel 34:13 Or by the streams
  3. Ezekiel 34:18 remainder
  4. Ezekiel 34:29 Lit. planting place


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