Found and restored ∙
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? – Luke 15:4
2 You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
5 Thus, you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
The story is told of a young couple on their honeymoon. They went to a resort with a large harbor connected to the Atlantic Ocean. The guy, being a guy, decided to go sailing on a sailboat. He had never used a sailboat before, but how hard could it be? He had been a Boy Scout and had read all about sailing when he was younger. So off they went, the wind in their sails. Within a few minutes, they were a good mile or two from the shore heading directly into the Atlantic Ocean.
Well, the guy decided it was time to turn back, and then he suddenly realized that the wind was behind them, blowing them out to sea. They were about to be lost at sea, without radio, food, or drinking water. He quickly realized that turning the boat around would not work because they would be heading right into the wind. Did I mention he had read books and easily recalled diagrams? He remembered an illustration on tacking.
Sailing boats cannot move directly into the wind. To get where they need to go, they have to tack. Tacking is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel is directed toward the wind at an angle in a zigzag fashion. About an hour and a half later, they returned safely to the marina.
For one reason or another, people wind up lost in the Scriptures. Often, they wind up wandering in the wilderness. The wilderness, by its very nature, is harsh. But the wilderness experience is familiar to most all children of the King. In the Father’s kingdom, time in the wilderness, while difficult, is a place of preparation for what comes next. The Father uses the wilderness experience to prepare people to join Him in the work that He has for them. So it was with David, Paul, Abraham, Moses, and many others.
After he killed the Egyptian, Moses found himself lost in the wilderness. His physical and emotional experiences are captured for all time in words from the movie, The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille.
All about is desolation, and he cannot bless or curse that power which moves him, for he does not know from where it comes, learning that it can be more terrible to live than to die. He is driven onward through the burning terrible desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for God’s Great Purpose. Until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came, the metal is ready for the maker’s hand.
REFLECT & PRAY
Even when we are lost, we are never truly alone. Our Shepherd King is there to rescue us.
Father thank You that You love me. When wandering in the wilderness, encourage me to remember that I am never alone. You seek me, and You find me.
But there is also a very sweet aspect about being lost in the wilderness, particularly when you are a sheep. Sheep tend to go astray. When the Father handed out intelligence, sheep were at the very back of the line. By the time they got to the front, He was just about out, and the Father only had one-half of a tablespoon left. Thus sheep are not the brightest of all of the Father’s creatures. They desperately need a shepherd (1 Peter 2:25).
4 If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?
5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.
6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
When a sheep is lost, it is in danger. Sheep are pitifully helpless and defenseless. Each sheep is on the shepherd’s heart. Good shepherds always seek that which is lost. While good shepherds are responsible and committed, their love and devotion for each sheep compel them.
Sheep become lost because shepherds fail to carry out their responsibilities to them. Often it is done out of pure greed and selfishness on the part of the shepherds. They do not merely neglect the sheep; instead, they benefit themselves at the cost of the flock. Much damage is done (Ezekiel 34:1-10). So it was with the failed shepherds of the nation of Israel. Their abuse of the people was widespread and systematic.
But our Shepherd King promises to undo the damage and make things right.
11 For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep.
12 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.
13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the places where people live.
14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills.
15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD.
16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes – feed them justice!
He comes as the Good Shepherd to intervene to undo the damage. He promises to reverse in a systematic, step-by-step fashion the harm done by the failed shepherds. He seeks the scattered and gathers and feeds them. He protects them and gives them safety and security. He acts as their Shepherd King (ESV notes).
As children of the King, we have in the Lord Jesus Christ the greatest of all shepherds and guardians.
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd.
As human sheep, we get “lost” when we are not cared for but rather are abused and neglected. Serious emotional scarring and wounded hearts are the results. The Lord Jesus Christ systematically undoes all the harm that has been done. Finding and restoring the sheep provides great joy to the Shepherd.
Rather than playing hide and seek, His love should motivate us to play found and restored.
© Dr. H 2022