Woven Day 15 His Stewards: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, His Stewards!

Ezekiel 34:17-22 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

17 “‘As for you, my flock, the Lord God says this: Look, I am going to judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and goats.  18 Isn’t it enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of the pasture with your feet? Or isn’t it enough that you drink the clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Yet my flock has to feed on what your feet have trampled, and drink what your feet have muddied.

20 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord God says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Since you have pushed with flank and shoulder and butted all the weak ones with your horns until you scattered them all over, 22 I will save my flock. They will no longer be prey, and I will judge between one sheep and another.

The Questions

1) Who is the “flock” referenced in verse 17?

2) Why is God upset with His flock?

3) How does God plan to deal with His flock?

The Findings for Intention

1) Who is the “flock” referenced in verse 17?
God has something to say in this passage to His people.  Collectively, they are His flock.  Scattered and away from their homes, they still belong to the larger flock.  And within the flock, He references 3 different groups:  sheep, rams and goats.  The sheep are the individual members of the flock.  The rams and goats are also members of the flock, but they represent the “strong” from among them (from Strong’s Interlinear Bible).  Often, rams and goats are used interchangeably in the Scriptures to distinguish them from the other sheep.

2) Why is God upset with His flock?
In verses 18 and 19, God speaks to the goats and rams within the flock.  He calls them out for being dissatisfied with all of the good that He has provided to them.  In their lack of contentment, these flock-members selfishly seek more and ruin things for the sheep.  They are also proud and pushy, preying on the weak.  Not only that, but the proud goats and rams are even guilty of pushing out the sheep, contributing to the fact that they have been scattered.

3) How does God plan to deal with His flock?
God is clear about how He plans to respond to the members of His flock.  First, He will save them.  He will bring them back to Himself.  His pursuit will be relentless.  However, His justice will have its way.  Justice is a part of God’s character and nature.  His justice makes Him good, requiring accountability and responsibility.  For that reason, God will judge his church and will distinguish between the sheep – His true followers – and the goats.

The Everyday Application

1) Who is the “flock” referenced in verse 17?
For Ezekiel’s original audience the flock is the people of Israel.  As we move into the New Testament, Jesus makes it clear that his followers, the Church, are His sheep.  If we are one of God’s children, one of His followers, we are a part of his flock.  This is true even  if we don’t belong to a local church body.  That flock, or the church, is made up still of two groups of people:  sheep and goats.   And the difference between sheep and goats is still applicable today.  Sheep are those who follow God with sincerity and devotion.  Goats (or rams) are the “strong” who hide themselves within the larger flock.

2) Why is God upset with His flock?
Standing in Israel at Nazareth Village, a small living-history representation of life in Biblical times, I will never forget what I saw.  Looking across the way, there was a pen full of sheep.  The shepherd walked over and opened the gate to allow the flock to go out and graze.  The moment he even approached the door, there were a few among the group that were practically jumping out.  As he opened the door, they pushed their way over and trampled other sheep.  The sight made me pause for a moment at the wildness.  The shepherd was giving direction to the flock, but those few weren’t interested in listening.  They were too busy trying to get ahead.   Then our guide simply pointed out, “Those….those are the goats.”  The sheep were content, listening, following, and obeying.  The goats were pushing, fighting, demanding their own way and scattering the weak.  The natural question becomes, who am I?  And who are you?  Sheep or goat?  I know who I want to be, but I am compelled to seriously consider if that is truth deep down.  And if not, how do I change my bent to go my own independent, selfish, pushy way?

3) How does God plan to deal with His flock?
According to Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary, God partially fulfilled this promise in the person of Jesus.  He came and he exposed the sins of those who declared that they belonged to God simply because of their religious duty (John 9:39).  Then, God promises to completely fulfill the promise with Jesus’ second coming and final judgement (Matthew 7:21).  In light of those truths, we are each wise to ask ourselves:  am I ready to give an account?  Will I be found among the sheep of His church, following and obeying with a contented heart?  Or will I be seen among the goats who tried to blend in with the flock, but were more interested in their own agenda?  Am I being a good steward of the gospel, bringing others to its truth?  Or am I pushing others away from its truth because of my own selfish behaviors?

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, His Stewards!
Sign up to receive every Journey to your inbox!

I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Woven Week Three!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
Download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
Tap and hold on your mobile device to save.

Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Woven!