Friday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:12-22 (NKJV)
“‘”12 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, 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 God. 16 “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 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.”‘”
The Lord’s shepherding work can be best described by one verb: feed. The Lord uses this word five times in today’s lesson to describe His gracious work among His people. He searches for His lost sheep. He brings them out of their captivity. He binds up the broken and strengthens the weak. All this He does by feeding the sheep. He makes them to lie down in rich pastures. By feeding His sheep He strengthens them, heals them, and brings back those who have strayed.
The Lord feeds the sheep of His pasture with the green grass of His holy Word. In the word of His gospel He feeds His sheep who are burdened by their sin and wearied by their own unrighteousness. In the promise of His gospel He offers to all His sheep the forgiveness of their sins and His own perfect righteousness to be their own righteousness before God the Father. The Lord feeds His sheep through the preaching of the Gospel, reading and meditating on the Word of God in faith, and through the means of salvation. The Lord desires to be the true shepherd of His people so that they lack no good thing.
He feeds the fat and the strong, those who have trampled on the other sheep, with judgment. Instead of being fed with rich pasture, the sheep who muddied the clear waters for others He feeds with condemnation for their unbelief and wicked deeds. Even this is done to provide for His sheep, “for they shall no longer be a prey.” The Lord feeds His sheep and protects them from every enemy.
Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, feed us with Thy Word of promise and strengthen our faith with Thy holy sacrament, that we may be defended from our enemies. Amen.