Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15
You may be able to tell that this week, we are exploring the nature of Yeshua’s person and His relationship to Israel. On Day 1 we explored God as Good Father and Israel as the Eldest Son in God’s family. On Day 2 we explored God as the compassionate, remembering Mother and Israel as the loved unforgettable baby. On Day 3 we explored Yeshua as the longing Bridegroom waiting for His Bride. And today we look at how Yeshua is the Good Shepherd who will one day shepherd Israel as a King. Even now, He has full authority over and responsibility for His people, Israel.
God really cares when we are scared. A sheep has no defense. No claws. No Fangs. No shell. Their only protection is a caring, consistent, and capable shepherd. God claims that responsibility not just for the sheep physically, but for their emotional security and tells Israel not to be afraid. There is a shepherd for this tiny, vulnerable nation. This is the source of our hope.
The shepherd sees the big picture: where the sheep have been, where they are going, and what needs to happen to help them get there. He decides the pace, He sets the tone for the flock, He gives them rest. He protects them. He goes at their pace when needed. He is that rare combination of compassionate and strong, gentle yet fierce, pursuing but not intimidating. He is the Shepherd who laid down His own life for the sheep. He was the Passover Lamb of God that was slain for sins of the world (Revelation 13:8; Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29). Our atoning sacrifice (Leviticus 17:11).
Yeshua, the Gate and the Shepherd-King
Our only hope is God’s leadership and the Kingship of Yeshua, but God has never forced people to be led by Him. Though His sovereign word WILL be fulfilled, the fulfillment can come slower or faster depending on human cooperation and decisions. Trust was always an invitation. We must choose Him as our King. Yeshua claims to be that shepherd for His people and the gate or doorway through whom they enter the sheep-pen. When he was killed, the sheep of Israel were scattered, first by the sending out in Acts, but also politically, within that generation. But His word says, “…He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” (Jeremiah 31:10)
Not only this, but the Shepherding of Israel is deeply tied to Land Covenant, that He will bring them to the land He promised them. We see that a remnant from Israel was saved once and brought into Judah. That was one partial fulfillment of this scripture, but the Messianic and eschatological nature of Jeremiah 31 lets us know that God will ultimately fulfill this in a way in the future in a way that is completely fulfilling of His word. The shepherd of Israel will bring the people back to the land promised to them and also judge between “the fat and lean sheep” (Ezekiel 34). This means he is going to judge Israel based on the motivation and actions of selfishness/love, generosity/withholding, serving/self-promotion. This is also talked about in Matthew 25:32-46 as Yeshua teaches that generosity and hospitality will be a basis on which we are judged.
We need to pray that the temptation to live in Israel as “every-man-for-himself” and in “survival-mode” is replaced by caring for one another, especially in the body of believers, with great care, hospitality, tenderness and generosity. God cares how we treat one another in the land. We do not lack, so we can give freely. God will give what we need! Injustices and prejudices against the Arab believers in the land will come to the surface. Prejudices of infrastructure, housing, and water access in Arab areas of Israel will need to be addressed at the policy and social level. Grudges and atrocities need to be forgiven. We need to pray that God raises up those with compassion in the individuals in the government here to train the Jewish people for compassion for the foreigner and for the poor in the land, because they will be held accountable one day for those in their care. We see a lot of compassion at the local level in terms of giving to the poor. May the local emphasis on good deeds and grace for the poor people and the elderly in their own neighborhoods prepare Israel, even now, to care for the nations after they come back to the Good Shepherd, as they rule and reign with Messiah.
In fact, the prophecies of future Jerusalem describe Yeshua as “giving Israel new shepherds who will teach truthfully.” We are seeing, even now, competent Bible teachers sent to Jerusalem to help counter the massive amounts of witchcraft, division, and false teaching here. Some of it is easy to catch and some is more underground and some must only be discerned in the Spirit.
Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! Psalm 80:1
We join as your people praying for the lost sheep of Israel.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
As your flock we join with you in your heart to find even the “one lost sheep.” You love all the prodigals but today we want to join in your heart for the lost sheep of Israel. The sheep that have been scattered. We know we are not complete as a flock until you bring Israel home.
Lord, this is what you said:
“O Israel, my faithless people,
come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
I will not be angry with you forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt.
Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and committed adultery against him
by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
14 “Return home, you wayward children,”
says the Lord,
“for I am your master.
I will bring you back to the land of Israel—
one from this town and two from that family—
from wherever you are scattered.
15 And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
16 “And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the Lord, “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. 17 In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the Lord.’ All nations will come there to honor the Lord. They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires. 18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever. Jeremiah 3
So we know and believe that you are merciful to us and when we repent and confess and admit our idolatry and faithlessness, you are quick to forgive. We do not want the good old days but what you have NOW for Israel and in the future for her. What you have to come for them is a Kingdom, a city of Shalom peace, where you will rule and reign as the Shepherd-King. Jerusalem will be called the Throne of the Lord! Lord, bring the day according to your mercy.
Lord we pray for the shepherds of Israel, for the false teachers to be silenced, for false teaching to be rooted out of the congregations here. We pray for those well-meaning but teaching in error to be gently corrected. We pray for the wolves with sinister motives to be exposed, and for the truthful word, the pure gospel, to be preached boldly and without confusion.
In the name and authority of Yeshua, we bind the spirit of confusion in this land (Zechariah 10). We bind the despair and lying visions. We command the enemy to stop speaking to and through God’s people. We break assignments against them.We ask for the Holy Spirit of counsel and revelation and might, so that we can know and rightly divide your word and have the strength to boldly preach it. We bind the spirit of drunkenness and ask you to pour out a spirit of sobriety over your people so they can rule and reign with you and judge rightly.
I ask you for a pouring out of your Spirit because your word says that your Spirit instructs us and keeps us aligned with your Word and your heart. Though your ways are not our ways, we CAN confidently say that we know you. In the same way we ask for the Holy Spirit to pour out on your people who do not know you in Israel, that they may be convicted and drawn by your kindness and walk into a life shepherded and taught by your Spirit. In this way, prepare them for persecution.
“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.” Nehemiah 9:20
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26
...for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. Luke 12:12
Lord we ask that you give shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, shepherds who will keep watching over them—not because they must, but because they are willing; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to them, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)
Teach them to shepherd under the chief shepherd, to insist on YOUR leadership. Yeshua, we yield to the truth that only YOU have the ability and wisdom to shepherd your people into peace, wholeness, and goodness. You are bringing a kingdom prepared FOR us and we rest in your provision and look forward to your Kingdom coming to earth. Come quickly Lord.
For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land.read more. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. As for you, My flock…‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!’ Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them, “Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another. Ezekiel 34:11-22
We thank you Lord that in your kingdom, Israel will no longer be a prey. We ask for them to become more and more confident in your provision and in your love so that they can share with others. We thank you that because of their history of suffering, they will be compassionate. We know that hurt people tend to hurt people, but you heal us. Heal your sheep. Bind up their wounds. Shepherd your people.
You said, “As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” (Ezekiel 34) declares the Lord God.
Yes Lord, we agree with your word. Let it be as you have said. Lord, Go after the lost sheep of Israel.