Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Sheep in Need of The Shepherd

A Devotional Journal Entry

I came to the Bible tonight with my cup bone-dry, weary of life and longing for God. I’m a pastor, but tonight I felt more like a sheep than a shepherd. In fact, that very metaphor was simmering on the back burner of my mind, since I had encountered it twice in the last 24 hours: praying through Psalm 23 last night with an anxious church member and meditating on Isaiah 53 this morning during Communion.

My Bible reading schedule has me in Ezekiel right now, and so my expectations were shamefully low. I kind of assumed I’d read the obligatory chapters and then move on to a more helpful portion of Scripture in my quest to hear the gentle voice and feel the tender touch of my Shepherd. And then I came to the middle of chapter 34…

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak…”

I was stunned to hear the Lord God taking the words of Psalm 23 on His own lips and saying them to me: “I myself will search for my sheep… I will bring them out… I will feed them with good pasture… I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep… I myself will make them lie down… I will seek… I will bring back… I will bind… I will strengthen…” And suddenly I was there, hearing His voice, finding good pasture, quenching my thirst…

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