“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. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak. I will rescue my flock. I will make with them a covenant of peace… so that they may dwell securely… and none shall make them afraid… And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they are my people. You are my sheep, and I am your God.” Ezekiel 34:11-16,22,25,28,30-31
If He will, then He has full capacity to undertake for the how and when. If He promises, then He has to power and will to fulfill His pledge. If He vows, He is able and ready and committed. If He will, then I can trust Him, and rest in His word. If He will, then I need not.
Ezekiel has just prophesied against false, greedy, self-serving shepherds, and now he turns to comfort the hungry, weak, sick, injured, strayed, lost, and scattered whom they had stranded. His repeated “I will”s drive home and magnify the lavish kindness and powerful love that back every word from almighty God’s mouth. Sovereign God so orders our lives, and all He does in response to our circumstances, to show forth His glorious character in the way He tenaciously pursues and provides for us, that we will know Him. He will not leave us abandoned and wanting any longer than is necessary to teach us Who He is, and that we are His. Ofttimes misery, desolation, and exile are tasted in order for us to recognize the goodness and grace-initiated rescue of the one true God.
“[The shepherd] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… He goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice… I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” John 10:3,14
What iniquities hold me in slavery? What bitter or sour attitudes, what agony or lack, cloud my ability to love and serve well? Jesus knows my everything, and has pledged to lead me out to freedom and abundance. Will I choose to know Him by following Him as my Shepherd? (John 10:10)
Good Shepherd, teach me to trust Your promises and follow Your voice, and so know You.