Your Shepherd Has Made Peace for You!

May 8, 2022

Pastor Gunnar Ledermann

Ezekiel 34:25-31

Ezekiel 34:25-31

25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

There is a lot we could talk about today regarding mothers. I’m guessing many of you have felt the tension this past week with possible decisions in the government and what effect it will have on our society. Many would like to see the church give them answers and rally Christians together to row in the same direction as we wade through the sinful world. At the same time, many Christians find themselves confused by which emoji to use when congratulating a new mother. Many also wonder if they are making a positive impact on their children or if they have failed and ruined the next generation. In many ways, mothers and all people are searching for peace in this chaotic world.

The need for peace in this chaotic world was understood by the Israelites living at the time of the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel served the southern kingdom of Judah about 600 years before Jesus’ birth and 100 years after the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians. Babylon was the new powerhouse overcoming the Assyrians and the Egyptians. The small kingdom of Judah would have maintained peace or at least their sovereignty as a nation with the Babylonian Empire, but they turned away from the ultimate weapon and warrior, God, and were defeated. Ezekiel and many Israelites were taken as prisoners of war to Babylon. Ezekiel served God’s people during their time in captivity in Babylon. The content of the book of Ezekiel splits into two sections, one before Jerusalem was destroyed, and the other after. Our Old Testament reading for today from Ezekiel 34 addressed the needs of the people after the fall of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the capital city and home to the God’s Temple. When Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed, and the news reached the Israelites hundreds of miles away in captivity, their chaotic life became too much. For many it was easier to cut all ties with their past and adopt the identity of the Babylonians, even though it meant giving up faith in God, to make peace with their earthly circumstances.

Turning from God does not lead to peace. In our Old Testament reading from Ezekiel 34, we hear these words, 25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them.” When you are in a situation like Israel, you do not want to hear that there will be peace made sometime in the future, you want peace now. Like a mother dealing with a screaming, defiant bad decision prone baby, toddler, teenager, young adult or middle to late aged child, you do not want some that will help you, you want help now. A few verses after the promise of peace, God told the people what he was for them right at that moment when peace seemed far away, 31 “You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.” They were sheep and God was their shepherd, but Israel wanted peace now. If God was a father driving the family of Israel to a destination called ‘Peace’, everyone in the car would be asking him to pull over and ask for directions because it seemed like they were going the wrong way. You also wonder how God is going to lead you to peace. Take a moment and make a list of all the things you do not have peace with in your life. The terrible news is that if God brought you peace with all those things, more would take their place. That is the pattern of our lives. And this perpetual lack of peace in your life causes you to doubt Jesus is your shepherd who can give you peace.

God is not lost on his way to bring you peace; you are looking at the wrong map. God knew the terrible situation Ezekiel and the Israelites were living in, and he knows each item on your list that you do not have peace with in your life. God promised that peace would come, and that peace arrived with Jesus. The full chapter of Ezekiel 34 used the imagery of shepherds to refer to the wicked leaders of Israel. The wicked leaders who failed the people were called out in Ezekiel 34, 2 … “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.” The leaders failed the people and were punished, and the people suffered. Sidenote for your life, do not look to spiritual leaders who are selfish and do not care about God to give you peace, spiritual, trust and lasting peace. After calling out the failed leaders of Israel, God told the people he would be their shepherd, 23 “I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.” A few centuries later, God sent his angel Gabriel to speak to a first-time mother. We hear in Luke 1, 30 “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Jesus, the descendant of David and the Son of God, is our Shepherd, who cares about your need for peace and did the only thing possible to give you peace. In our Gospel reading from John 10, Jesus, the Lord spoke, 27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Jesus saved you from your sins that separated you from God, sins that lead to death and hell, sins that take away peace. God promised peace and he has made peace. That peace is guaranteed by your resurrected and living Shepherd. Your security will never be in question because the God who created all things, who became one of us, lived, died, and rose, who gave you the gift of faith and lives inside of you is your peace.

You will fully experience the peace of God in heaven. When peace is absent from your daily life the solution is to look to Jesus. Moms, overwhelmed by parenting and worried about your ongoing relationship with your adult child or children, Jesus is your shepherd. This is the need of your children at any age, to know Jesus. All the pressure to find the right diet, clothes, bedtime, activities, talents, level of health, social circles, education, will not bring you or your children peace. And all the pressure for you to maintain a perfect physical, psychological, social and emotional appearance will not bring you peace. When you are overwhelmed, it is because the world is attacking you, the devil, sinful hearts of others and your own sinful heart. When this happens and you have no sense of peace, God has not left you alone or told you to be the one to figure it out on WebMD or a blog or book. You are one of his sheep, he crushed the attacking wolf, he brings you cool water and to good pasture like he said in our Psalm for today, Psalm 23. God has made you the best home you could ever dream of, better than anything on HGTV or the Hallmark channel or Pinterest or Instagram or your neighbor or the neighborhood your drive through when you can get away by yourself to drive through and dream about living in. Heaven is your home. That is what gives you peace. And when your children see the peace Jesus gives you, they will have peace. Again, your child’s greatest need is Jesus and it is not an extra burden to teach them about him, you teach them when they see you rest, love, thank, pray, read, find identity, fulfillment and peace in Jesus, and ignore, unfollow and silence the chaotic world. In our New Testament reading from Revelation 7, John was given a vision of heaven and we hear his words, 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” Moms, your kids will spill the sippy cup of water you give them over and over, and you will not be there every time they cry on the playground, the locker room, from social media, finding a spouse, paying bills and raising their own kids, but the Lamb who gave his life to save them will be there to give them all they will ever need.

There is a lot we could talk about today regarding mothers. Take note of what we did not talk about and what we did talk about this morning. Many mothers wonder whether they are making a positive impact on their children or if they have failed and ruined the next generation. We all need peace with God more than anything else. Jesus saved you and your children from sin, death and hell. He has given them forgiveness, love and eternal security in heaven. Cherish and talk about this message today and every day, your Shepherd has made peace for you. Amen.

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