A Resting Place for Lost Sheep

Cheviot_lamb_on_the_Isle_of_LewisIn those days, at that time,” declares the Lord , “the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.   They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord  in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.   “My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place.   Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, ‘We are not guilty, for they sinned against the Lord , their verdant pasture, the Lord , the hope of their ancestors. – Jeremiah 50:4-7

The language of this passage is reminiscent of the new testament in its reference to lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7).  Jesus spoke often of people as lost sheep and of Himself as the Shepherd, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).  This is passage is a prequel to this new song that God will be singing in the future through His son Jesus.

The key part of this passage, and the reference to water, is in the beginning: “the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God”.  The people of Judah seem to have finally gotten the message that God loves them, and they choose to go, together, to seek Him out.  The people are thirsty and hungry for God.  Their souls are sick and they are shedding tears because they know there is something missing from their lives.

They are ready to take concrete actions to find their way back to God.  They will “ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it.”  The people of Israel seek, ask, and turn in order to find their way back to God.  All three of these actions remain the most effective way to find our way back to God today.  The last step in their return involves a commitment and a covenant, “they will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.”

It is not enough to be ever seeking, we must, at some point, arrive at our destination and act upon what we find.  The people of Judah are to turn and make a new covenant with God.  This sounds very much like the act of repentance and baptism practiced by modern followers of Christ.

This passage makes it clear that although the people must shoulder the consequences of their choices they also had help in becoming lost sheep.  Their leaders were failing the “Meribah Test” miserably by leading them away from God: “My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place.”

The people forgot their proper “resting place” beside the quiet waters where peace like river can be found.  As a result they “wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. Whoever found them devoured them.”  The people were reaping the fruit of the fact that their leaders were not leading and they were not seeking to put God at the center of their lives.  It is reassuring that they have finally found their way home and we can choose to do the same.

Prayer: God we are all lost sheep in need of a Shepard.  Help us to seek, ask, turn, and make a lasting commitment to follow You.

This entry was posted in Christianity, Conflict, Covenant, Discernment, Following God, Jeremiah, Jesus, Obedience, reconciliation, Redemption, The Nature of God, Trusting God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Resting Place for Lost Sheep

  1. Pingback: Muddying the Waters | Walking on Water

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s