Daily Devotional for Monday August 18, 2008
Son of Man, Prophesy Against the Shepherds of Israel
"The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! 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." Ezekiel 34:1-6
A sad commentary on so many pastors and Christian leaders right from God's Word. Last week I was doing some study in the Book of Ezekiel. In reading through some passages, I came across these first 6 verses in Ezekiel 34. As I read these words, I could only think that this was the sad description of so many pastors and Christian leaders today. 50 years ago, you could sit in the pew of most any church of any denomination and hear the Truth of God's Word. Those pastors and the men and women God raised up on the national scene were men and women who would never compromise the Truth of the Bible and understood their only mission was to bring the lost to Christ.
Fast forward to the year 2008 and you have entire denominations of pastors who don't even preach, teach or believe the Bible. It is questionable if many pastors were ever "called" and are even saved. Those who have risen up into national prominence are more worried about selling books, having the newest private jet, building bigger buildings, and living like the rulers of small nations rather than preaching the unadulterated Truth of the Bible and leading the lost to faith in Jesus Christ. My goodness, you now have so-called Christian leaders who were endorsing and working for the member of a satanic cult to become our next President!!!
When these are the men and women leading the people, why are we surprised that many who sit in the pews of the nations churches on Sunday aren't even saved, don't accept the Bible as Absolute Truth and our only authority, and the majority of the ones who do lead weak and ineffective lives. That is why I encourage people all the time to seek out a pastor who is a true shepherd. That is increasingly difficult today, but there are still many men of God who have not bowed their knee to Baal and are not the shepherds described in Ezekiel 34. Sunday is the day most Christians go to church. It is the only time most of you ever see your pastor, and that is usually from your seat in the sanctuary as he leads the worship service and preaches the message.
Having preached in over 500 churches of every denomination nationwide, I can honestly tell you that for most pastors, Sunday morning is their favorite day of the week and the one day they usually feel their work for God really has some meaning. You can never know the pressure most pastors are under. If it was only getting up on Sunday morning and being the "man of God" it would be wonderful, but that is not reality. It is a 7-day a week, 24-hour a day calling. Many have outside jobs. There is the constant pressures of raising the budget, dealing with the interpersonal problems that always exist when you have a group of people, overseeing the political infighting that often occurs, on top of the spiritual requirements of shepherding the flock, having an anointed word each week for the various services, and other requirements the office of pastor carries with it.
My prayer for you today is to support your pastor. Pray for your pastor each day. John 10 gives us the picture of the ideal pastor. Pray that your pastor will be able to tear away from the distractions of this world to be the shepherd described in John 10. God has placed that pastor in your life to guide you, spiritually nurture you, and have spiritual leadership over your life. Do all you can to show your love and appreciation for all your pastor does for you, most of which you may not even recognize. Also, God has placed your pastor in your life for spiritual leadership. When you come into times of crisis, don't hesitate to go to your pastor. That is ultimately why they are there, to help you and guide you through those difficult times in your life.
I love you and care about you so much. I pray for you daily. Sadly, today there are too many pastors and Christian leaders who fall into the description found in Ezekiel 34. It makes the work that much more difficult when you have people running around calling themselves Christians, but supporting sins like abortion, homosexuality, the destruction of God's plan fo the family. You have others who think there is nothing wrong with belonging to a cult or false religions and they have bought the universalistic lie from hell that everyone will get to Heaven.
Let this message today be a remember to lift up your pastor in prayer and recognize him for all he does for your life. God has called His sheep to be obedient and obey those in spiritual authority. Take inventory and see if you are fulfilling this admonition, and ask God to help you. He loves you so much, that he has placed your pastor in your life to shepherd you and guide you in your spiritual journey. Show your love for Him today by praying for and supporting your pastor.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller