Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Imagine being spoken to audibly by God, directed to climb a mountain, instructed to take a look as far as your eyes could see, and then being told that because of a previous act of rebellion, you were about to die. What would you do?

As I read Numbers 23 through 27 today, I tried to imagine myself living in the wilderness with the children of Israel. At the end of chapter 27, when God does what I've just described to Moses, I had to ask myself what I would have done. Would I argue my case before God? Surely it might have occurred to Moses to say something in his own defense--maybe something like, "Lord, you know how ridiculous and stubborn these people are and how difficult it's been for me to lead them--can't you cut me a little slack and let me live a while longer--at least until after we cross over into the Promised Land."

His reason for not begging to see the land of milk and honey will have to remain a mystery, but what he requested instead is remarkable to me. Rather than thinking of himself, his thoughts were immediately for his people--those same exasperating folks who had caused him so many headaches and heartaches. He asked God to appoint a leader for them so that they wouldn't be like sheep without a shepherd.

What exactly is a sheep without a shepherd? It is a helpless animal that is always in danger. Moses wanted to know that his people wouldn't be left to fend for themselves, and that God would give them the leadership they needed to continue their journey to the land flowing with milk and honey.

God obliged the request by telling Moses to appoint and anoint Joshua as his replacement leader.

Today, God knows we still need a leader (or shepherd) and without one, we are in constant danger. Scripture tells us that Jesus is our good shepherd, appointed and anointed by God. Here's what Jesus said in John 10:

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.

Indeed, a good shepherd leads, feeds, and pleads for his sheep. On the day that God says to us that our time is up, that's exactly what we can count on from Jesus. We don't have to make excuses for our rebellion, plead our cases for ourselves, or beg him to reconsider our fate. Our fate is sealed and our case has been won by our Good Shepherd.

Father, thank you for my Good Shepherd who loves me more than my mind has the capacity to comprehend. Forgive me for failing to appreciate the magnitude of this great blessing and have mercy on me when I stray. Thank you that my sweet Shepherd is always there to lead me, feed me and plead for me. What more could I ask? In His precious Name. Amen.

"Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
much we need thy tender care;
in thy pleasant pastures feed us,
for our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are."

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