The Scattering of the Lord’s Sheep by False Shepherds
When the visible church becomes corrupt and dominated by evil men, the righteous are scattered. The blind man healed by Jesus in John chapter nine was put out of the temple by the religious authorities — though he found the true Temple (Jesus) outside. Christ’s true people were persecuted by Rome in the centuries leading up to the Reformation and scores of true pastors were expelled from their pulpits in the days of the Puritans in England. This is no new thing and it is still happening today.
Many, if not most, of our readers here at ACFJ are survivors of abuse. Many of them have been members of a local church, only to be further abused by their church when they exposed the evil of the abuse they were suffering. The result? They are scattered. Some have been formally ex-communicated while others were put out through more “informal” methods. The result is the same. They are out, while the wicked abuser remains inside the “church.”
Here is a wonderful passage of Scripture that speaks comfort and hope to those who have been so sorely oppressed at the hands of people who claim to be of Christ. And it is also a sobering, fearful warning to such counterfeits and in particular to the false shepherds. Here it is for your encouragement:
The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep.
No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 34:1-15)