Israel is in exile and is as far from enjoying what God wants to give her as Adam and Eve were at the Fall. In fact her situation is worse since she is experiencing the additional punishment of the Mosaic covenant, for example, by being in slavery. However, God has promised to restore some of what was lost at the Fall, and even as Israel enters her darkest hour God is expanding and fleshing out these promises, making it clear that He is really promising a full reversal of the Fall. One of the most important expansions He makes to His promises is that He commits Himself to removing the obstacles to Israel inheriting what He has promised. This development of God’s promises is the subject of this passage.
Ezekiel divides into two. Chapters 1-32 are largely (but not exclusively) about God’s judgement, while chapters 33-48 focus on God’s promises of hope (again not exclusively). The watershed comes in 33:21 with the news that Jerusalem has fallen. Thus, this passage comes just after the Jews hear of the destruction of all they held dear, when their fortunes are at rock bottom. Note that this passage comprises the first two of a loosely linked set of oracles, and we are looking at the next three in the next study.
CLICK HERE FOR ROSS' HANDWRITTEN NOTES (PDF)
1. Divide the passage into sections and give each a title that summarises its content and significance.
2. 2 In 34:1-10, who exactly are the shepherds and what is God’s complaint against them?
What have been the consequences of their failings?
3. In 34:10-24, what are the three overarching things God is promising to do for the sheep? Why is each of these three necessary?
4. 4 In 34:10-24, who will be the shepherd? How can v16 and v23 both be true, and why is it important that both are true?
5. Isaiah described God’s rescue of Israel as being like the exodus (e.g. Isaiah 11:16).
What parallels are there between God’s rescue described in Ezekiel 34 and the original exodus? What light does this shed on the promised rescue from exile?
6. In 35:1-36:7, what does God intend to do to Mount Seir (i.e. Edom) and the nations it typifies? Why is God doing this and why does He need to do this before He can rescue Israel?
7. List the main promises God makes in 34:23-30 and 36:1-15. How does what is promised here compare with what Israel has lost at the exile? So what is God promising to do?
How does what is promised in 34:23-30 and 36:1-15 compare with the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants? What is the significance of (a) the similarities, and (b) the main difference?
8. What is the significance of the fact that the same promises are relevant both to what went wrong at the exile and to God’s covenant promises?
How should this change the way we view what God is promising and doing in the exile?
9. In summary, in 34:11-36:15, what are the main things God says He will do?
Why does He place such emphasis on what He will do (note how often He uses the pronoun ‘I’), and how should this change our view of our involvement in God’s plan?
The big idea: The aim of the Study