The Word for today:
mark this: Ezekiel 34:26
And I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.
What happened to Ezekiel? Where'd he go? Did he have a lobotomy? Will the real Ezekiel please stand up?
It may seem that the author of chapter 34 could not possibly be the author of previous chapters in the book of Ezekiel. But rest assured, the real Ezekiel is still with us.
The sudden change in tone is not caused by a changed Ezekiel. Instead, the change is caused by a changed "audience."
What changed the people was judgment:
In the twelfth year of our exile, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, "The city has fallen!" (Ezekiel 33:21)
Jerusalem's punishment, long threatened, had arrived. Ezekiel was suddenly speaking to a chastened people.
A prideful, idolatrous people had been broken down. Ezekiel was now addressing a humbled, spirtually re-dedicated people whom the LORD could now build up. Lovely and loving words ensue, as we hear the voice of the Shepherd...
Seeking the lost:
For thus says the Lord God: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away." (Ezekiel 34:11, 16)
Restoring the found:
"I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord God. "I will bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick." (Ezekiel 34:15, 16)
Pouring out blessing:
"And I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing." (Ezekiel 34:26)
We must recall that it isn't Ezekiel's tone that has changed. The prophet merely repeats the word he is given from God. So what we are hearing is a dramatic shift in the tone of God's voice.
The great lesson to be learned is that God uses judgment in order to move us into the place of blessing. When judgment has maneuvered us into that position, God's gracious intentions are suddenly realized.
God awaits the day when he can withdraw his heavy hand and his hard voice. That's not how he wants to be. Until then, he will do what the good Shepherd must to lead us beside the still waters, to make us lie down in pastures of blessing.