As I might have mentioned once or twice before, I am currently reading through the One-Year Bible. For the past few weeks, I have been reading through the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel, like the other prophets, told Israel how they were sinning, and God was really mad about it. They needed to turn from their evil ways. God would give Ezekiel a lot of visuals in order to get His point across, and Ezekiel would share with the Israelites (God’s chosen people) and other nations (not God’s chosen people) what the Lord had said.
Not only are the prophetic books applicable to the people for which they were written, the writings also would foreshadow what was to come in the distant future. My Old Testament professor in seminary would get mad at us if we would draw everything into the New Testament. Dr. Mosley would tell us, “the prophets had to speak to the people in front of them before they could speak the generations after them.” Deep thought.
Getting back to Ezekiel. God is telling the Israelites that they are still loved by Him, even though they keep messing up time and time again. God says starting in Ezekiel 34:11:
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: 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 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 and by the rivers and in all the places where people live… I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again.” (34:11-13, 15-16a)
Notice, God didn’t say, “you, Ezekiel, are going to bring all my people back.” God said I. God Himself was going to save His sheep. True, as Dr. Mosley would say, this does first apply to the Israelite people in that time. However, I feel like Linus from the Peanuts gang when I say, this is what Christmas is all about. The Lord came to find His sheep. He came HIMSELF to gather us and to give us peace, rest, and to bring us home. He came and tended us when we were lost and without hope. He showed us how to live for the Lord. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God Himself made a way for us to go home. The Holy Spirit searches for us, though we don’t know we are lost. Sheep are dumb animals who need a shepherd to look after them. Praise the Lord for Jesus, our Good Shepherd (John 10).
As you go about this Christmas season, remember that we are a sheep in need of a Shepherd. God didn’t send some dude to come find you. No, He sent Himself to find us, to search for us, to bring us home. And like the old song says, there is no place like home for the holidays.
Merry Christmas, little sheep.
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