The comforting truth about God’s promises is that they are set against the backdrop of human sin and failure.
Therefore the promises of God can certainly be believed. For God is not talking about fulfilling these promises to a perfect people; but he is talking about doing good things for those who have sinned, faltered and failed.
That does not mean that God approves of sin. Certainly not! We have the perfect example for this in Jesus Christ. When he walked on earth he was called the friend of sinners. He never condemned people because of their sin; but was calling them to forget their past and leave their life of sin.
So God’s promises come to you when you are in darkness. As we look at the prophetic ministry of Ezekiel, we find that he was talking to a people who had lost their place of worship—the temple in Jerusalem. Moreover they were now prisoners and in exile in the land of Babylon. In visions, Ezekiel is shown how the glory of God had departed from the temple and gradually from the people of Israel itself; all because of their rebellion and sin.
But in the midst of such hopelessness and despair, the shepherd-heart of God is revealed. And mighty promises of hope and restoration are given to the people.
God is contrasting himself with the shepherds of Israel who cared only for themselves and not for the flock (Ezekiel 34:1—6). Isn’t this true today also? So many believers are prey to the so called spiritual leaders who exploit them, loot them and plunder them; and finally leave them without comforter or care.
But God is not like that. He says, “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak” (Ezekiel 34:16). He is a God who searches for the lost and looks after them. God affirms it so powerfully in a series of “I will” statements in this passage (34:11—16).
So dear child of God, it is possible that you have been led astray by some spiritual leader who did not have your genuine welfare in mind. It is possible that you, like the people of Israel, had driven away God’s Presence and glory from your midst by your rebellion, idolatry and sin.
It is possible that you are now far away from God and worship. Do you think you have gone so far God’s mercy cannot reach you there? Wait a minute. God is waiting for you; he has come searching for you right where you are at this moment.
He is willing to embrace you and carry you home. Will you not accept this grace that God is showing you now. His promise is that he will bind up your wounds and strengthen you. Where else will you find a Shepherd-God?
He is not against you as you’ve thought. Though hurt and grieved by your sins; he still is your Shepherd waiting to carry you home. Are you willing?