Reading: Matthew 1-4
Scripture: "... I Myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day."
I will search for My lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again." (EZEKIEL 34:16)
An indeed wonderful truth that came from His Majesty which beauty I can never, ever define. It's GOD HIMSELF through HIS SON, JESUS who came down from Heaven, left everything there - His crown, His throne, His Lordship only to find a sheep like me who has strayed away so far and for so long and yet, He never stopped yearning to shepherd and finally hold in His most loving arms. "I’ll take over and gather what’s left of my sheep, gather them in from all the lands where I’ve driven them. I’ll bring them back where they belong, and they’ll recover and flourish. I’ll set shepherd-leaders over them who will take good care of them. They won’t live in fear or panic anymore." - The Lord, Jeremiah 23:4, MSG
For more than 30 years including the day when I was born, God has enlightened me that I was indeed one of these scattered and lost sheep that He's referring to in the Scripture - lost and strayed away, starving, weak, wandered away, sick and injured - Ezekiel 34:3-4. And the Lord was truly humble, merciful and extremely gracious to search for me Himself, when He could have just let me completely lost my way because that's what I deserved. But He could not, so He did not! Unbelievable! A King, a Pure, Holy One could not ignore a lost and filthy sheep like me! The truth is ... He'd love to bring me home. A home that I could only find in Him.
"To Shepherd Me" - What does the Lord mean by that?
A lot of times, I've wondered and asked ... "Why wasn't I found earlier or a long time ago?" Or, "Why did I really come to know Jesus just now?" "If He came to find me, why did the searching take that long?" Until I learned ... "Everything that happens in this world, happens at the time God chooses." - Ecclesiastes 3:1, GNT He came into my life at the time He Himself has chosen. His perfect time! "I am in great awe, O Lord Almighty!"
And so I was found and heard Jesus offered something beautiful that I could never ever resist -- "Now Michelle, let Me shepherd you for you have been so long lost. You have been so long wandering away. You have been so long sick and injured and have been starving for something only I can provide."
And to shepherd me, The Lord meant:
- Take care of me for I am weak. - Ezekiel 34:4
- Tend to me when I am sick, bound up and injured. - Ezekiel 34:4
- Look for me (again and again) each time I wander away. - Ezekiel 34:4
- Search for me when I get lost - Ezekiel 34:8 and bring me safely home again. - Ezekiel 34:16
- Defend me when I'm attacked by the enemies. - Opp. Ezekiel 34:8
- To feed me and not let me starve. - Opp. Ezekiel 34:8
- To bandage my wounds and injuries. - Ezekiel 34:16
- To strengthen me when I'm weak. - Ezekiel 34:16
- To give me a place to lie down in peace (His presence). - Ezekiel 34:15
- To rescue me when I'm abused. - Ezekiel 34:2e and my abusers will be fed justice! - Ezekiel 34:16
I tried to replace the words "sheep" and "flock" in the scripture above with my name and here's what I got. The Lord's voice straight to my heart!
"I myself will search and find my lost Michelle. I will be like a shepherd looking for Michelle. I will find Michelle and rescue her from all the places where she was scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will search for my lost Michelle who strayed away and I will bring her safely home again." (Feel free to say it to yourself (with your name) and listen to Jesus speaking to you.)
Enormously marvelous! Never can I comprehend and get to fathom this truth - that The Lord will do all these things for me. What an undeserved but generous love He has for me!
PRAY WITH ME:
"Your love for me Father is truly beyond description. You could have rescued me without having your holy, begotten Son, Jesus to die. But from above, and among the huge crowd, you saw me dying being led to the dark and falling to the pits. You did what you had to do - to let your Son die in my place so I will live.
I can never thank you enough, Father. I pray that your awesome compassion will continue to live in me. In that way, I'll be taught to let the same compassion in me remain for others - an unselfish, generous and unconditional love.
Teach me well, Father to love like Jesus. To care like you care. For all these wonderful and amazing things that You've done for me, I exalt Thy Holy Name. Amen.