7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
I don’t care much for the sheep analogy scripture presents for those who belong to God. Sheep may be cute, but they’re dumb animals, form all I’ve been able to learn. However, when I do something stupid in life (more often than you may think), I suddenly hear a voice in my head. No, it’s not God calling me a moron; He wouldn’t do that. It’s the sound of a sheep going, baa baa!
We humans, for all the capabilities of intellect and learning God gave to us, can be pretty dumb. So, scripture is right. And thankfully, God didn’t leave us here in the the world’s pasture without a shepherd to watch over us. I think of all the images the Bible presents of God, Jesus as the Good Shepherd is my favorite.
Good Shepherds Care
Shepherds (A synonym for Pastors) are remarkable people. They nurture and care for their flock, keeping them well fed and safe from the wolves. There are many wolves in our world, sadly even in our churches. Jesus warned of this; ““Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matt. 7:15). Notice that the wolves don’t just run into the flock and bite and devour the sheep, they pretend to be a part of the flock. They break down the flock’s defenses by pretending to be one of them.
Sheep are also easy to scare. They flock together in groups to feel more secure. Sheep have an inbred sense to follow a leader, any leader, rather than to think for themselves. I’m thinking of some great political illustrations here, but I digress. Jesus knew we would be tempted to follow false leaders, so he also told his followers to be, “wise as serpents and gentle as doves” (Matt. 10:6). Those are not easy attributes to attain. Our best chance of gaining such wisdom and meekness is to become intentional about or discipleship.
Be Intentional This Next Week
Today is one week before Good Friday on the Western Christian Calendar. I hope you’ve been challenged through your Lenten journey to become a more intentional disciple of Jesus. But, even if you haven’t done so well this Lent, it’s not too late. Holy Week is perhaps the greatest opportunity to be intentional. Follow the events of Jesus last week leading to the cross. Be in church on Palm Sunday. Then, look for services each day of the week, many churches have them.
My Holy Week devotions will take on a new look and feel for the week. Meditate on them throughout each day and I promise you will hear the voice of your Shepherd. “Oh, that today you would harken to His voice” (Vs. 7b). When you harken to His voice, you will hear the voice that raises you from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”