And We Might Have a Part In It!
From Ezekiel 34:11-16; 20-24: For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 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 watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says 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, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
For many this is the time of year some question, "Who will join us at the table this year?" Some ask, "Who can I join at the table?" The question is asked as preparations are beginning for the biggest meal in the USA, Thanksgiving. If you have walked the aisles of your grocery store you have seen and perhaps already bought turkey gravy, a huge pumpkin/pecan pie (or both). Many will remember the loved ones who sadly, for the first time ever, will not join us, because they have departed this earth. Imagine God's heart as God seeks those children who have left His table, to wander the earth in search of meaning and purpose, and are looking in all the wrong places. Such was the purpose behind Ezekiel's word from God. God is a seeking God, who rests and rejoices when the lost are found. God is a protecting God, who even in the midst of life's most terrific storms, can reach out a strong, loving hand and bring the lost back into safety.
The image used by the prophet is similar to the one used by Jesus from the Matthew text of Monday. Sheep matter to God; so much so, the one being neglected matter the most to God. In this passage, that theme is again stated this time in terms of those who are well fed, and those who are hungry. The injured, the weak, will all be restored to health; those who neglected them will be dealt with accordingly.
God is a God of salvation, meaning that God desires and will establish a loving relationship with those who are lost and seek it. God is a God who knocks on the door of all hearts; our job is to make sure others hear it. If we have heard that knock and have invited Christ into our lives, we should live it! We should be the light that leads people out of darkness. We may even have to knock on some doors ourselves.
PRAYER: Loving God, lead us to faithful obedience. Help us be those who helpers of those still wandering. Thank You for your love that seeks and protects. Let me be a part of Your work. In Jesus' precious and powerful name I pray, amen.
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord!