“’As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down,’ declares the Sovereign LORD. ‘I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak’”
Ezekiel 34:12, 15-16 [part]
Ezekiel 34:12, 15-16 [part]
I am a bit of an English nerd (thanks, Mom!). While I’m certainly not an expert, I do like my modifiers in the appropriate places. And, yes, I am constantly seeking metaphors. I read and then re-read sentences to gain meaning from their construction, their tone, their choice of words. I could literally spend hours on one or two well-turned phrases, extracting their full depth and enriching their meaning.
For example, the above Scripture is one of my favorites (yes, I do say that a lot ~ guess I really just love God’s word). At first glance it tells me that GOD Himself cares for me. HE says so, “I myself will tend my sheep;” and I’ve learned HE doesn’t flippantly say, or not say, anything (Ezk 34:15). This passage does not say, “I’m sending my angels in descending order to look after my sheep depending upon their righteous living. The martyrs warrant archangels, the prophets and missionaries get cherubim and seraphim, while the rest of you sinners can look out for yourselves.” No! The Sovereign LORD says, “I myself will tend my sheep.” GOD will personally search for the lost, retrieve those who wander, and heal the hurts of those wrecked by sin. GOD, who spoke the entire universe into existence, is personally looking after you; searching for you, calling you back, desiring to heal your wounds and strengthen you.
Amazing, isn’t it? You might have noticed that HE doesn’t just say that once. GOD says, “I will” five times. In case you didn’t catch it on the first read, HE reiterates that fact ~ in five separate instances. The Almighty GOD will personally tend to you.
The other part of this passage that I love is the use of the word, “will.” Notice the word is not “did;” GOD’s Son, Jesus Christ, did die for all the sins of the world ~ past tense. But the Creator of the Universe chose “will” to describe His relationship with us. This word shows futurity ~ it is going to happen. It denotes habitual action ~ something that is repeated again and again; then, now, & tomorrow. And it indicates an inevitable tendency ~ the action [or verb] following “will” is certain to take place.
The Sovereign LORD does not forgive us once & then abandon us to our soul-destructive tendencies. Instead, HE teaches us that it is HIS character, HIS very nature, to keep rescuing us, keep finding us, keep healing us. Even if HE has to take us back to the day of clouds and darkness to do so. And HE will continue to tend to us for all eternity. For we are HIS and HE is ours!