Like a Lamb Gone Astray
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. “ Isaiah 53:6
We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Add to that the many distractions of our popular culture, and it is no surprise that we stray from God’s path now and then. As I often tell people, its a good thing God always allows for a”do over.” This is made even clearer in Mathew 18:12-14,
“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” God will always leave open a path from where we are, through Christ, back to him and his way.
Think about this in terms of the classic story of the prodigal son. The prodigal son as you may remember demanded his inheritance immediately. He then left his father’s house and went on his own way. He had a great time, and squandered his inheritance in the process. His money all gone he could only survive by becoming a servant to others. He concluded if he were to be a servant, he may as well be one in his father’s house. So he returned home, and told his father he would gladly be a servant, if only he could be allowed to return. Did the father agree to this ? Not at all ! He immediately ordered his servants to clothe his son in HIS finest robe, and that a ring be put on his finger. He even ordered that his finest calf be butchered and prepared for the feast celebrating his son’s return. Our heavenly Father sees us as his prodigal son when we stray from him, and waits to celebrate our return.
Now lets look at the 23rd Psalm, and think about what it has to say to us in terms of what we are studying. “ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
The reason a Shepard worries so much when a sheep goes astray, is he can only protect it if it is under his direct authority. The way this relates to us as Christians is that we cannot stray from God’s way, without straying from his protection. God gave man alone the gift of free will. But the advantages of submitting to his authority do not go with us if we leave him. But if we stray, his heart aches waiting and hoping we will return. If we return, sincerely repenting for anything we may have done to offend him he will happily welcome us home.
But does this mean that we can do anything we want, tell God we are sorry, and its all good ? Not quite.
Consider what the Apostle Paul had to say in Romans 6:1-3, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” To truly return to God our repentance must be sincere. Part of that sincerity is to make changes in our life to bring us closer in line with his way.
But the point of it all remains this. If we truly want to return to God and his way, he will always make a place for us !
Posted on February 24, 2015, in Bible Study and tagged 23rd Psalm, Christians gone astray, Isaiah 53:6, Mathew 8:12, returning to God, Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Romans 6:1, The Prodigal Son. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.