Woe to you . . . . You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick. Ezekiel 34:2, 4
Perhaps the most heartwarming tradition in college football happens at the University of Iowa. The Stead Family Children’s Hospital sits next to Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, and the hospital’s top floor has floor-to-ceiling windows offering a great view of the field. On game days, sick children and their families fill the floor to watch the action below, and at the end of the first quarter, coaches, athletes, and thousands of fans turn to the hospital and wave. For those few moments, the children’s eyes light up. It’s powerful to see the athletes, with a packed stadium and thousands more watching on TV, pause and show they care.
The Scriptures instruct those who have power (and all of us have some kind of power) to care for those who are weak, watch over those who are struggling, and tend to those whose bodies are broken. Too often, though, we ignore those in need of attention (Ezekiel 34:6). The prophet Ezekiel rebuked Israel’s leaders for their selfishness, for disregarding those who most needed help. “Woe to you,” God said through Ezekiel. “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured” (vv. 2, 4).
How often do our personal priorities, leadership philosophies, or economic policies demonstrate little regard for those in distress? God shows us a different way, where those with power watch out for those who are weak (vv. 11–12).
How have you seen those with power watch out for the weak? How have they ignored the weak?
Heavenly Father, teach me to love as You love.
For further study, read Going the Extra Mile: Learning to Serve like Jesus.
We’re familiar with Jesus being referred to as the Good Shepherd in the New Testament (John 10:11), but that metaphor had its origins in Ezekiel. God promised to reject the failed shepherds of the people (Ezekiel 34:10), which Jesus in turn identified as the leaders of Israel in His day (Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34; John 10:1–6). God promised to be Israel’s shepherd Himself (Ezekiel 34:11–16).
When Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7) or calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:1–18), He’s claiming to be the shepherd, like David, who’d rescue all God’s lost sheep (Ezekiel 34:22–24). Long ago, God promised to shepherd His people. In Jesus, we see that promise fulfilled.