“For thus says the Lord : 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 . 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.” Ezekiel 34:11-16
What comfort there is in the truth that God seeks His sheep to rescue them, to gather them to Himself! His land is one of freedom and satisfaction. He Who loves and cares enough to bring them in then fully supplies nourishment for every need, physical and spiritual: grazing for the hungry; rest from self-effort, long-held resentments, discontent; healing from injury of broken relationships, sins’ consequences, deep sorrow; and strength for the weak and weary.
As I watch sheep, they eat, and eat, slowly ambling across the grass without direction, often unaware of other sheep, sometimes wedged in at the fence corner trying for those fat green blades under the wire, but very skittish at strangers. The good shepherd sees all, and always leads his flock in at night.
How like the sheep we can be, going about our merry way, satisfying self without taking notice of others, surprised at interruptions. Where have I wandered off? And for whom do I long, and pray, to return? The Good Shepherd searches and pursues, and with strong, outstretched arms, gathers His own. He can be trusted.
“I was lost in utter darkness til You came and rescued me;
I was bound by all my sin when your love came and set me free.
Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.
O, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be;
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee!
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
He’s my heart, o take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
~ Robert Robinson (1758)/ Ron Kean (2006)
Great Shepherd, gather me to You. And please go after and rescue, in Your perfect way, those beloved sheep who are lost in utter darkness.