Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles slumber. – Nahum 3:18
Scripture reading: Ezekiel 34:1-16
Nahum’s prophecy is eloquently layered for New Testament Christian readers. The first layer is the warning that the people of Assyria ought to be the primary concern of the King and nobles. Ezekiel prophesied the duties of the king and nobles. Most important is that such shepherd leaders keep in view their accountability to the LORD of Heaven and Earth, to Whom all men must give an account for their actions.
The second layer of this prophecy reminds the people of the LORD of the high calling they have to honor the LORD their God. In calling out the wickedness of the Assyrians, the people of Judah are not to gloat over an enemy’s fall into ruin; instead, they are to examine their own conduct. By the time of Ezekiel, the Assyrians had already been defeated. What a stark warning this should have been for the leadership in the household of faith to stay true to the LORD as shepherd-leaders.
As New Testament Christians we read these words and are reminded that Jesus is our Good Shepherd (John 10). He has sought out the people of the LORD and He has bound up the wounded. He has fed and refreshed the lost sheep. We read these words and are reminded, wherever the Spirit of the LORD has placed us, we serve as under-shepherds of Jesus Christ. We raise our families to know and obey Him. If we are single, in whatever capacity God has given us charge of, we make His Name known in acts of service.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray to be faithful in your role as an under-shepherd in the kingdom of Jesus, the Good Shepherd and for the leadership of your city, your region and nation, to live in view of their calling before God.
Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.