Monday, December 15, 2014

I myself will search for my sheep: Devotion from Ezekiel 34:11-16

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
             Ezekiel 34:11-16

Today we are sheep.  Not just any ordinary sheep we are God's sheep.   Ezekiel speaks of the Lord saying,  "I myself will search for my sheep and look after them."  I wonder why it says, "I myself will search..."  Wouldn't it have been just as accurate to say, "I will search for my sheep..." ?  Not being a Hebrew scholar I'm not going to try to explain how the Hebrew words came to be translated that way. However, I know that when I say the words,  "I myself will do something..."   I'm trying to communicate that I'm personally taking responsibility for something.   I'm not going to hire someone to do what I'm going to do.   In sales we might say,  "I'll take care of it myself." This is meant to give confidence and assurance in the heart of our customer who trust us to accomplish what we say.  Perhaps that is what God is communicating.   He's saying, "I'm not going to send another I'm going to be your personal shepherd.   I'm not going to send an under shepherd to do the work that I intend on doing.  

I think God is saying your that important to me that I will be your personal shepherd who will come and search for you my lost sheep.  I will protect them.  I will lead them into green pastures.  This is God's guarantee that when we are lost "He" will come after us.   and don't you know that that is the promise of Christmas?   Its the promise that Jesus, who is the Divine God, came into the world to be our Savior!  "...and they will call him Immanuel which means, God with us." (Matthew 1:23)

God came in person.

Yes, God sent John the Baptist as a messenger to let us know he was coming but God came in person to do what only God could do.  He came to take us out of the kingdom of darkness and to bring us into the kingdom of light.  He came to Judge the living and the dead.  He came to die for the sins of the world.  Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  John 10:11

Now this is not to say that God doesn't use under shepherds to minister to each of us.  That is the role of the pastors and elders of each church.   But even then, if those "under shepherd" are negligent or not able to lead us and protect us from the crises of life,  God promises that He will Shepherd us.  The responsibility falls upon God's shoulders.  And those are pretty good shoulders indeed.   1 Peter 1:3 tells us,  "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 

Indeed God sent His best for us.  God came in the flesh and dwelt among us!  So as the Apostle Paul proclaims and asks,  "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also, along with him,  graciously give us all things?"  (Romans 8:32)

To Ponder:  The shepherd has come to you. God is looking for you.  Will you trust Him?  Will you follow Him?