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The God of All Blessings

Some have a skewed perception of God. They picture Him as an indignant God, waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us. Some have a skewed perception of Christianity. They think it’s a life of drudgery. Both perceptions are wrong. It only takes a brief look into God’s Word to see that, from the very beginning, God has wanted nothing more than to bless His people. The words “blessing/ bless/ blessed” appear around 535 times in the Bible (depending on which version you use). The first occurrence is found in Genesis 1:22, “God blessed them…” In the Sermon on the Mount, the very first word out of Jesus’ mouth was, “Blessed” (Matt. 5:3). Paul wrote that God “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3), and then spent the rest of the letter mentioning several of those specific blessings. Ezekiel 34 is one of my favorite passages because it so beautifully illustrates the “showers of blessing” (v. 26) that God wants to rain on His people, even after they have wandered off. To get the most out of this study, print off Ezekiel 34:11-31 and be prepared to mark up the text as we go through it together. What can we learn from this remarkable chapter?



God Wants a Relationship with His People

There is ‘shepherd and sheep’ language all throughout this passage. Contrary to what you may have heard, sheep weren’t silly little creatures. They were highly prized for the wool, meat, milk, and cheese they provided. Shepherds cared for them and protected them, even standing between their sheep and predators (v. 25). Circle all the possessive phrases in the text. God says “My sheep” (v. 11, 12, 31), “My flock” (v. 15, 17, 19, 22), “My people” (v. 30), and so on. He claims His people even though they were in exile due to their own rebelliousness. God wanted them to know that He was still their God and they were His people (v. 30-31). “We are His people; the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3).


God is Involved in the Lives of His People

Deism is the idea that God created the world, set things in motion, and then stepped back just to watch everything unfold. Perhaps this is why some people have the skewed perceptions of God and Christianity I mentioned earlier. This text is just one example of how God IS active in the lives of His people.  He is not distant or detached. He is very involved. Underline the occurrences of “God will.” By my count there are 31 of them, and most of them are good ways He wants to bless His people! God Himself will “search for His sheep” (v. 11), “deliver them from the gloom” (v. 12), “feed them in good pasture” (v. 14), “lead them to rest” (v. 15), “bind up the broken” (v. 16), “make them a blessing” (v. 26), and so on. 


God’s People Struggle on Their Own

The first part of Ezekiel 34 describes the unhappy state of Israel. “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” (v. 5-6). God is going to point out their sad condition in our text. Draw a square around the negative words that describe their situation. They were “scattered” (v. 12,16), “lost” (v. 16), “broken” (v. 16), “sick” (v. 16), “prey” (v. 22,28), “enslaved” (v. 27), “devoured” (v. 28), “victims” (v. 29), and “insulted” (v. 29). It was a dark time for them but it didn’t have to be!


God Wants His People Back to Bless Them

This is the remarkable part. God didn’t forsake His people. They left Him. They were suffering because of their own choices. And yet, He still longs to bring them back into His fold and care for them. He doesn’t like seeing them hurting. In a great contrast, He shows them a better picture of what their lives could be like with His help. Squiggly underline the words that describe their restored state. His people would be “rescued” (v. 12), “fed” (v. 13, 14, 15, 16, 23), “rested” (v. 15), “strengthened” (v. 16), “delivered” (v. 22, 27), “peaceful” (v. 25), “secure” (v. 25, 27, 28), “blessed” (v. 26), and “established” (v. 29).


The same contrast stands before each of us, doesn’t it? Without God, we are lost, broken, and the enemy’s prey. With Him, we are rescued, strengthened, and secure. He still longs to bless and protect you, even if you’ve already made a great big mess of your life. Next time you sing “Showers of Blessing,” thank God for the “mercy drops [that] round us are falling.” Remember how He demonstrated that to His people of old and keeps that same promise to us today!


 

By Kathy Pollard

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