Tuesday Reflection – November 12, 2019
God Gathers and Provides
One of the themes of the prophet Ezekiel was God as the gatherer of a scattered Israel. Scattered by the nations around them, Israel would one day be gathered together by God and re-established as His chosen people. God would once again be Israel’s protector and provider. Today’s watchword from Ezekiel 34: 11 is God’s commitment to find and care for Israel. I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
The text uses the a very common image of God throughout the Bible, God as Good Shepherd. Shepherding demanded commitment to the wellbeing of the sheep. A lazy shepherd would lose his flock and have nothing eventually as the sheep would stray or be killed by wild animals. There is a recognition here that sheep are constantly in need of attention. Sheep will also stray. That’s a given. Most importantly, sheep depend entirely on the shepherd for their sustenance. The shepherd has to take the sheep to pasture where there is still water, shade and fresh green grass. Even with that, sheep are apt to stray so must be watched by the shepherd throughout the day. Sheep are also easy prey for lions and bears and so had to be protected by the shepherd.
In John 14 Jesus declares his himself as the Good Shepherd, willing to die for His sheep. No sacrifice was considered too great for the shepherd to make for His sheep. It is there that He also declares that he has other sheep I other folds. It stands out for me since I may well be one of those from another fold. It also tells me that we cannot limit the reach of the shepherd as He gathers His sheep. We cannot judge where he will gather from, all we can do is ensure that we will be among the gathered. Note also that with the gathering comes God’s caring. I myself will look after them. David declared ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want’. In other words, when God becomes our shepherd, our wants will be supplied for he will be attentive to our every need and will supply them according to his riches in glory. Maybe there is someone today who is wondering where to turn next, what to do? You are trying your way, but it is not working as you expected. I challenge you to yield to the gathering of the Good Shepherd and enjoy the richness of his grace as you wants are also supplied. He who gathers us to his presence, will provide what we need. Amen.