Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lost Sheep

August 23: Jeremiah 49-50

For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?
Jeremiah 49:19b

4 “In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the Lord their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’

6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. 7 All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the Lord, their habitation of righteousness, the Lord, the hope of their fathers.’

17 “Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones. 18 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 I will restore Israel to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and his desire shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead. 20 In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

33 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.
Jeremiah 50:4-6, 17-20 & 33-34

Lost Sheep

In today's reading God is pronouncing judgement upon all of the nations who have mistreated His people. In the middle of the judgments, the theme of God coming to the aid of His lost sheep keeps reappearing. Even though He allowed them to be disciplined for a time by the nations surrounding them, now judgment is falling upon those same nations, while Israel is being recovered by the Lord.

Look at the pronouncement God makes both in Jeremiah 49:29 and then again in Jeremiah 50:44:

For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?

Indeed, what ruler (shepherd) can stand before God? As evil seems to grow like a cancer throughout the entire world, can evil rulers stand before God? God allows their sin for a time, but the time will come when He will bring judgment against them, especially those who mistreat His people.

Who is your shepherd? Are you willing to trust your very soul to follow the false shepherds of this day who have no fear of God, but trust completely in themselves?

In John 10 Jesus tells his disciples that He is the good Shepherd; His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
John 10:3b-4

What does Jesus provide for His sheep?

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:10b-11

So, again I ask, Who is your shepherd? Will your shepherd care enough about you that he will lay down his life for you? No wonder God proclaimed these words through Jeremiah, the prophet.

19 I will restore Israel to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and his desire shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead. 20 In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

Christians are bought with a price; their chief Shepherd has laid down His life for His sheep. Will He then forget those whom He has purchased with His own blood? I think not! Go to Christ, the only true Shepherd, and He will save you now.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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