Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; my flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."'" Ezekiel 34:1-6I think this sounds like a pretty good picture of today's church. Would you agree? Shepherds have lost the art of shepherding. This is a pretty scathing indictment from God. I stopped at verse 6, but his judgment starts in the next verse. That's one reason you should read the entire chapter. Another reason to read the whole thing is to gain a flavor of what God thinks of the characters involved.
You see, as I read through the entire chapter I noticed a peculiar thing. God uses the first person possessive in referencing the sheep. Four times I count God using the term "My sheep." He uses the first person possessive in referencing the flock. Eleven times I count God using the term "My flock." Only once does God use the term "My shepherds." It is in verse 8, but it is not pretty, saying, "...My shepherds did not search for My flock..." at that point he ceases using the term "My shepherds" and doesn't use it again the rest of the chapter.
I think this passage is important in the light of the now popular teaching among the celebrity rock star pastors in the "Reformed" world. This teaching says that anybody who claims to be a Christian but is not a formal member of a church, or is not currently attending a church or is not under the direct authority of some kind of pastor is a great sinner at least, and probably not even a true believer. Well for those who hold that kind of belief, I offer you Ezekiel 34. How many of "My sheep" or "My flock" are spoken ill of by God in this chapter? They are wandering, they are scattered, they are subject to wolves and other dangers. How convenient for the shepherds of today to scatter and neglect the sheep, to dominate the sheep, to exalt themselves and then blame it on the sheep. How convenient.