MICHAEL’S MONDAY MEDITATIONS
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
My bicycle commute between home and work is wonderful, enabling me to view farms, forests, and marshes as I pedal. One of the farms is a sheep farm, and I always enjoy watching the sheep grazing as I whiz by. Well, one day last week, I noticed one of the sheep had escaped the fenced enclosed area and was grazing between the fence and the bicycle path. I could only surmise that he saw that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and he decided to partake. Obviously, the sheep’s owner was unaware of his wandering sheep.
This immediately set me to thinking, are WE not unlike that sheep? And it brought to mind the scripture from Isaiah. God, through His actions and through His Word, sets up a parameter for those He loves and He does so not because He wants to be a killjoy, but for our own protection. Since God created us, He knows us better than even those in our lives with whom we are intimate. Obviously, this calls to mind The Ten Commandments, but I think this thought extends even further to the desires of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5.
However, one thing does differentiate us from this lone sheep in relationship to his master, and that is, Jesus, The Good Shepherd, always knows where we are, unlike an earthly master. He loves us when we remain inside the fence and loves us when we are outside the fence, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain outside the fence and He reels us in. I love the story in Luke 15:3-5, “So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing….,” for have we not all, at one time or another, been that sheep that needed rescue? This parable summarizes nicely just how much God the Father loves each and every one of us and why it was that Jesus so willingly went to the cross on our behalf in order to save us. Each is precious.
Sometimes He simply retrieves us from danger and we are consumed by His loving kindness. But sometimes he disciplines us, and let us not take that lightly. Hebrews 12:6 says, “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?…”
Whether reproved or lavished with love, each of us needs to fall on our knees in worship and gratitude as we see just how deep the Father’s love for us is. This loving kindness, or discipline, makes me realize I am one of His and it further reduces any desire to sin I might have and induces me to live life exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit outlined in Galatians. How about you? Do you, too, experience this love from relationship with the Father? Do you know Him? If you do, REJOICE! If you do not, won’t you take a moment to come to Him today, just as you are, and lay your sin down at the foot of the cross, and let Him begin the cleansing and healing process in your life? He’s promised he’ll do it and He always keeps His promises. And He always knows where you are. What a marvelous God we have!