This children’s sermon is about God’s protection for his people. It can be used in a variety of teaching settings or expanded into a full lesson plan. For added emphasis, you might include a shepherd’s crook into the following devotional text.
Preparation: We recommend teachers read the whole of Ezekiel 34 as background before presenting this materials. Notice how the scripture emphasis is on God taking action to feed his sheep, in contrast to the evil shepherds. You should also print this page and read through it several times before you present it to children.
Children’s Sermon Title: God is the Good Shepherd
Bible Passage: Ezekiel 34:11-19
Target Age Group: Elementary Aged Children
Printer Friendly Bible Lesson: [print_link] this lesson plan
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Background Context: The people of God, the Israelites, during Ezekiel’s day were in trouble. They were not following God, and they were not following the law that God gave; the people were very disobedient. God had placed leaders (kings, princes, priests) to take care of the people. God called the leaders “shepherds” (Ezekiel 34:2). However, there was a problem with these leaders. The leaders were very bad and corrupt. They would use God’s people, referred to as sheep, for their own gain. Now, God’s people were in a very bad situation. Not only were they disobeying God, but they didn’t have any good leaders to help them out.
(Ezekiel 34:11-16 ESV) “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
Have you ever been in a problematic situation without knowing it? Maybe you have and you didn’t know. For example: What if you were in a dark forest with a tour guide and there was a bear following you the whole time!? What if the tour guide knew about the bear, but didn’t tell you? Now, imagine that the tour guide starting running really fast, and left you there to face the bear all by yourself. This is the same thing that God’s people were going through. The tour guide represents the bad leaders; they didn’t try to help the people out, but they left them defenseless.
God, however, will not completely leave His people. There may be times where it feels like God is far away, but He is not. God may want us to learn something during those times of trouble, but He will never run away from us like the bad shepherds or like the tour guide.
Did you notice how God says, “I will search” (11), “I will seek” (12a), “I will rescue” (12b), “I will feed” (14), “I myself will be the shepherd…” (15), and many more. God will take care of his people; He wants the best for us; He wants us to follow His lead. If we follow God’s lead, then we will become closer to Him.
Did you know that sheep are not very smart animals? They are not very strong, and they are not very fast. For this reason, sheep need shepherds to lead and protect them. We should be very thankful that God is our Shepherd, because we are often very weak, and He knows the best pastures for us. God truly is a good Shepherd; He loves us greatly. God doesn’t want us to follow anyone or anything else besides Him.
In fact, God loves us so much that He sent Jesus who is also a Good Shepherd.
Jesus says in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus is so good that he laid down his own life, that we may have life. Jesus also says in John 10:9, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and our and find pasture.”
The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Being a good person doesn’t save anyone; believing in another god doesn’t save you; going to church doesn’t save you. The only way to salvation is through Jesus. If anyone tells you another way to salvation, they are a false shepherd, because Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).
Suggested Follow-Up Questions:
- Do you know of any modern day “evil shepherds?”
- Why do you think God cares so much for us even when we do bad things or sin?
- What else do you know about sheep?
- In what way(s) are we like sheep?
- What do you think God will do with the bad leaders? See Ezekiel 34:17-24
We have several free resources on our website that could help expand this sermon into a longer teaching time. Download our Good Shepherd coloring page or review our toddler and preschool lesson plans along this same theme. We also want to hear your ideas, simply leave a comment below.