For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. (Ezekiel 34:11)

These are God's words of comfort to the children of Israel in their captivity — they should listen to Him. He's the Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, and the Chief Shepherd of the sheep. The thing that impresses us in the rest of this chapter is the repetition of a wonderful statement by God, "I will," which occurs eighteen times in verses 11 through 29. This is grace when God says this. The Good Shepherd one day said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest [rest you]" (Matthew 11:28). The Shepherd also said, "I [will] give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish..." (John 10:28).

As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. (Ezekiel 34:12,13)

The Shepherd is talking about the nation of Israel, what He is going to do for them in the future. They are in captivity now because of their sin and because they listened to the false prophets. But He says, "I am not through with them. I have not thrown them overboard. I am not through with My sheep — I intend to bring them back to their land."

I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. (Ezekiel 34:16)

When He has one lost sheep, this Shepherd goes out to find it. He will do that for the nation Israel, and He will do that for the church today. When our Lord told the parable of the lost sheep, that shepherd had one hundred sheep, and one sheep got lost. What did the shepherd do? Did he just forget about that sheep? Did he say, "Well, if one little one wants to run off, that's all right; after all, ninety-nine sheep is a pretty good number"? No, this shepherd said, "I started out with one hundred and I am going to come through with one hundred." My friend, Vernon McGee is going to be in heaven — not because he's a smart sheep; all sheep are stupid — I am going to be there because I've got a wonderful Shepherd, and He says, "I will, I will," again and again.

—From Edited Messages on Ezekiel by Dr. J. Vernon McGee