Every morning I get an email from the ELCA churchwide office with a bible reading from the daily lectionary. It is a good way to remind this non-morning person sinner to start with some thought about God. It usually it comes in the morning anyway, lately they seem to be having some delay occasionally. Maybe the usual sender is on vacation and a non-morning person remembers mid-afternoon. That’d be my problem.
At any rate, this mornings email came, and it was a passage I hadn’t come across in a while. Here it is:
Ezekiel 34:17-23 – God the true shepherd
As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats: Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?
Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.
Wow… there is a lot there. The ones who are fat and lean has a lot to say about the divide between haves (me) and have nots (lots of others) and whose side God is onand who God seems to think need a ‘talk’. The ‘eating the good pasture’ and question of why ‘you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture’ asks why its not enough for us to eat the best stuff, but to keep others from getting anything at all. And then there is the matter of drinking clear water and fouling the rest, presumably that we’re keeping others from having enough. A lot to unpack in a short passage. How does it convict (law)? And where is the Gospel?