Lost Without Hope!
I praise You, Lord, for this visit with me each day. I’m glad to be with You now.
Read Jeremiah 50:1-28
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36).
Psalm 23 portrays an idyllic scene of a sheep or lamb that is secure and well fed, since it is protected by a Good Shepherd. Sadly, this is not the vision of Israel that Jeremiah sees. Because Israel has rejected the Lord, the nation is like lost and abandoned sheep (6,17). Jeremiah blames Israel’s leaders who have failed to give good leadership and have left the sheep vulnerable to attack (6). If Israelites are typified as scattered sheep, vulnerable and defenseless, the great powers, Babylon and Assyria, are the lions that devour the flock (17). Ultimately these lion-like forces will be repaid for their sins (21-28).
For readers in the Near East, the image of scattered sheep portrayed the nation’s vulnerability. Scattered sheep were always in great danger at a time when lions and wolves roamed freely. This negative and sad picture of scattered sheep provides a good context in which to remember the privileges and protection with which Christians have been blessed. We are no longer scattered sheep, because the Good Shepherd has found us and made us one (John 11:52).
The sheep under the protection of the Good Shepherd are blessed indeed. He protects us, guides us and gives us a sense of belonging since he knows us by name. Jesus uses this metaphor of sheep and shepherds to describe the difference that he can make in our lives. He pays particular attention to the sheep that are lost (Matt 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7). Shepherds were despised in Jesus’ day, but he was willing to accept ridicule and death itself so that he could fulfill the role of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
Thank God that Jesus is your Good Shepherd. Recall how he, “…protects us, guides us and gives us a sense of belonging….”
Lord Jesus, how good it is to realize that You, as the Good Shepherd, know me by name. May I always know I belong to You.
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