Shepherds Feeding Themselves

Thursday, June 16, 2016

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? …Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them” (Ezekiel 34:2,10 KJV).

Friend, do you know any “self-feeding shepherds?”

Many years ago, a deacon asked an incoming pastor, “Will you let the Holy Spirit lead you in guiding our assembly?” The pastor replied, “I came here to retire!” He was uninterested in God’s will (as they later painfully discovered when he introduced false teaching and collapsed the assembly!).

Our English word “pastor” in its original Latin meant “shepherd” or “feeder,” related to “put to pasture.” Jesus commanded the Apostle Peter, Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian church leaders: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts chapter 20).

The Greek word rendered “overseers” (episkopos) is elsewhere translated “bishop(s)” (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25). Poimen is often rendered “shepherd” but translated “pastors” in Ephesians 4:11. These men should be “guiding” (supervising) and “feeding” (nourishing) local churches, keeping them in sound Bible doctrine, and guarding them against false teaching. Alas, many bishops and pastors—whether today or in ancient Israel (today’s Scripture)—are self-feeding! While they enjoy thousand-dollar handmade suits and multimillion-dollar mansions, their people spiritually starve!