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Tending the Flock 051411
Today’s scriptures are rich with the metaphor of sheep, and herds and pastures, and the shepherd who tends them.
Maybe it doesn’t make as much sense to people today, but 2,000 years ago and before, sheep were a key part of the peasant economy, and everyone knew what it was like to tend a herd, and not lose a single sheep. To lose a single sheep might mean the difference between eating the coming year or not. A shepherd could not lose even one sheep, and to find the lost one of a hundred was cause for celebration.
It places a great worth on a single sheep and metaphorically upon the repentance and salvation of every single lost sheep. Most of us may remember being called a lost sheep, or maybe a black sheep. But we were not ever abandoned to the wolves. Someone kept watch over us it seems, even when we had no right to expect such careful tending of our soul.
Pray for someone who seems spiritually lost. They don’t have to become spiritually like you or me or anyone, except that they begin to seek their own spiritual path. If we pray for such friends, God and Jesus will show the way home.
1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
34The word of the Lord came to me: 2Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.
7Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; 9therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10Thus says the Lord God, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them. 11For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I 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 watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
15Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3So he told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Flocking (ucucc.wordpress.com)
- The Sheep Follow (brookestark.com)
- The parable of the lost sheep (nelima.wordpress.com)
- I Want to Be a Sheep (anearthenvessel.wordpress.com)
- Scripture at Sunrise 4.19.2011 (nlbclex.wordpress.com)
- The Leader As Shepherd (garyrunn.wordpress.com)
- The Good Shepherd. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- The Lost Sheep (bricehope.wordpress.com)
- Get out of the sheepfold! (pocketpurposeblog.wordpress.com)
- Does the church inherit Israel’s land promise? (creationconcept.wordpress.com)