Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SHEEP AND THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 50

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

For thousands of years sheep have fed on these grasses in the Jordan Rift Valley in Israel. Again and again the Bible likens us to sheep. I think I’ve found a sheep that represents me in this picture. Pick one out that may represent you! Where is the shepherd?

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verses: Jeremiah 50:6

My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds have led them astray;

They have turned them away on the mountains.

They have gone from mountain to hill;

They have forgotten their resting place.

 

Chapters 50 (today) and 51 (tomorrow) are the longest pronouncements of judgment against a people. The Chaldeans, with their capital city of Babylon (located about 80 km south of modern Bagdad, Iraq), were defeated by the Persians (Iran), and much of the city was destroyed. Sadam Hussein, former President of Iraq, was in the process of beginning to rebuild Babylon when he was removed from power. The rebuilding stopped. The prophecy of Jeremiah remains true to this day (50:39b)…”It shall be inhabited no more forever, nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.”

Three times in today’s reading the Babylonians are referred to as “proud.” The images of their god, Bel Merodac (or Marduk, creator and sun god), were “broken in pieces” as verse two says. “Pride” can be traced to its source; Lucifer, the Archangel, was lifted up in “pride,” sought to be worshipped, and, as a result, was exiled from Heaven and banished to the earth. He has, by inspiring idolatry, sought to receive the worship that he was denied in Heaven. When Jesus came to us through the gateway of the Virgin’s womb, He modelled the opposite to this pride. For a New Testament reading, consider Philippians 2:5-11.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your Word tells me, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Also, You tell me that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). I pray for Your grace so that I may humble myself before You. As I’ve just read in Philippians, Jesus is my Example of humility, and I pray this in His Name. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve just been looking at the sheep in Reynold’s photograph. I identify with the one near the back of the flock that has its head up looking at the familiar paths. I can see those paths on the right. They are worn into the hillside by generations of sheep ascending and descending the slope. Perhaps the sheep with the raised head wants to head back home to the safety of the cave where the shepherd personally stands guard between the sheep and any approaching enemy. I’ve just read, as I’ve done hundreds of times before, John 10:1-18. I have total confidence in Jesus, the One Who said, “I am the Good Shepherd.” In contrast to our “Shepherd,” the people of God in Jeremiah’s prophecy had become as “lost sheep” because of shepherds who had led them astray. I’m singing just now Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Here’s the song I’ve found online by Keith Green, my son Ron’s musical hero when he was a teenager (click here).

Yours because the “Good Shepherd” takes “Good” care of His own sheep,

David

P.S. When we travel with our friends in Israel I often have a little fun by taking the microphone on the bus and pointing out the worn paths on the hillsides, as in today’s picture. Then I’ll say that the forces of evolution over thousands of years have caused the legs of the sheep and goats to be shorter on one side than the other, because they are always on a hillside. I pause to let that sink in, and then I say, with a grin on my face, this gives the sheep trouble when they turn around and start for home (laugh here). This is an example of a warped sense of humour. With all the doom and gloom in our readings, it occurred to me that we could use a laugh. If you don’t find my story funny, please forgive me, like Norma-Jean does several times a day!

12 thoughts on “Wednesday, February 17, 2016

  1. God bless you, David, and your sense of humour! When I looked at that photo, I saw myself as the sheep looking up and out, beyond, questioning, pondering. Praying for a hedge of protection around all saints, today, dealing with all the snow.

    “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NIV

    Here In Your Presence, New Life Worship
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq8P5i9U7-g

  2. Norma-Jean must be a saint to forgive your humour several times a day!
    Shalom,
    Graham.
    PS Maybe she is a saint because she lives with one?

  3. Yes, I agree we need a little humor during this time in Jeremiah and now. God bless you saints. Last night we had to deal with the rain not the snow. Will pick out which sheep I am later.

  4. David, here on the prairies we tell the same story about an animal called the “side hill gouger” with legs longer on one side than the other. Good to have a little humour sometimes to go with Jeremiah! God bless!

  5. I picked the same sheep as you also David but for a completely different reason…I would be looking across the fields asking myself where we can find something more interesting to do than eating grass!

  6. I have just received the book, Agents of Babylon, that I ordered from you. I am really enjoying it and highly recommend it. Order a copy, if you haven’t already. Today’s reading is so timely. The great empire that ruled the world, did fall, just as our reading today prophesied.
    I am so thankful to our Jesus, that He has given us Shepherds like you and Ron and others, like Billy Graham, who have led the sheep in truth and integrity and have covered and protected us by teaching us the Word of God. May God bless you with joy in the Holy Spirit and much laughter….for a merry heart is a good medicine.
    with love and prayers
    Krista Hargrave (still dreaming of another trip to Israel)

  7. how true “a merry heart is like a medicine”

    I’m the one behind the lead sheep…looking into the distance and meditating on the good things to come.

  8. Keith Green was also my son’s favorite when they were in their teens.

    Worshiped with the song “23rd psalm” also clicked on “Lord You’re beautiful” and joined in worship with him.

    Thank you David for sharing!!!

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