Christianity 201

November 17, 2018

Politics in Ezekiel’s Time

Six months ago we introduced you to David Ettinger who has been widely published including “various LifeWay publications, Single Parent magazine (Focus on the Family), Zion’s Fire magazine, and Real Life magazine.” David was born and raised in a Jewish family in New York, and converted to Christianity in 1986. As always, we urge you to click through to read this article at its source website.

A Perfect Biblical Description of Politicians

A Cause for Worry
A few years back while listening to the radio, I heard an interesting news item. Apparently, United States politicos were up in arms over a tell-all book by an ex-congressman who promised to expose the rampant corruption occurring in our nation’s capital and beyond.

The book is called Confessions of Congressman X, the author’s identity concealed for safety reasons. Here are some excerpts:

  • “Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that’s lavished upon them.”
  • “My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything.”
  • “We spend money we don’t have and blithely mortgage the future with a wink and a nod. [Forget] the next generation.”[1]

Controversial indeed, but nothing new; the Bible has spoken of political corruption for millennia.

Ezekiel’s Denunciation
Perhaps it was only a coincidence that I had been reading the Book of Ezekiel, one of the Bible’s “major prophet” books. And perhaps it was only a coincidence that my reading took me to Chapter 34, and that my reading followed my hearing the news account of Congressman X.

It occurred to me while reading Ezekiel 34 that everything the feared book is rumored to touch upon was covered – minus specific names and offenses – by the great prophet about 2,600 years ago. Chapter 34 is addressed to Israel’s “shepherds” – her king, princes, and other political leaders. As shepherds, Israel’s leaders were to look after and care for their flock – God’s people. God had put Israel’s political leaders in place to shepherd His people and to tend to their needs. So, how did Israel’s leaders do? Verses 2-6 give us the answer:

Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

Sound Familiar?
Hmm, this doesn’t sound like something written 2,600 years ago, rather it sounds more like today! Read this portion one more time, but with your nation’s politicians in mind. Does Ezekiel 34:2-6 look like a perfect fit to you? Isn’t it true that the vast majority of today’s politicians look after only themselves while neglecting their constituents? Don’t they seek to make themselves wealthy while those who voted them into office suffer? Don’t they all too often neglect the welfare of those they are supposed to look after, noticing them only at election time in order to secure their votes?

Of course they do, and it is a stench in God’s nostrils. While politicians make a mockery of mercy and justice, the Word of God says something quite different:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:6-7).

The Lord directed this passage to all of Israel, but how remarkably the world would be changed if all men and women were to live this way. But how can “all” men and women live this way if our leaders so ignobly ground such compassionate and gracious directives under their feet? Yes, there are good and well-meaning politicians, but they are few and far between; tragically, far more of them are “Ezekiel 34 Politicians.”

Making it Personal
What about you? Do you, without even realizing it, fall into the Ezekiel 34 category?

No, you’re not an elected politician, but as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you are a shepherd in the sense that you have been given a “charge,” an area of responsibility the Lord expects you to tend and nourish. In a general sense, all Christians are “shepherds” of our own holiness. God has given us charge over the way we conduct our lives, the way we tend to areas of sin and righteousness. Are you applying yourself to these areas, or are you treading them under foot. What about you who are parents? Are you putting your children first in your life? What about a neighbor the Lord has lain on your heart? Are you nurturing your responsibility to be kind to him and sharing Christ with him?

Just because Ezekiel 34 focuses on political leaders does not mean that you and I shouldn’t take it to heart. I urge to you reread verses 2 through 6 one more time and allow God to convict you of any area in your life where any one of these indictments apply. If so, ask God to redirect your focus away from yourself and onto your “flock,” and He will most certainly do so!