Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for November 22, 2020; Last Sunday of the Church Year
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 95:1-7a: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Matthew 25: 31-46
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Ezekiel 34:11-16
Have you ever been in the middle of chaos in your life and received the most loving words or actions from someone and, at least for a moment, the chaos dissipates and you feel a great sense of peace and assurance that you are loved and everything will be okay? Well, that is what the above passage does for me.
In the middle of absolute destruction and chaos in the Israelites’ history, out comes these loving words of assurance and protection for those who are seeking the Lord and can’t seem to find him in all the chaos. In the midst of heart wrenching pleas and pain, change and sorrow, God wraps his faithful children up in his arms as a devoted Shepherd, a loving Father, and whispers that everything will be okay; He will protect them, he will feed them, he will bind up their wounds, he will bring them back to their fold, and he will stand against those that are unjust to them.
Although he was long dead, David too knew these promises which allowed him to pen Psalm 23. And it’s the assurance of these promises why, I believe, the psalm is so beloved:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Also, from the words of Ezekiel, I am reminded of the poem Footprints In The Sand, where at the deepest, most painful moments in our life’s journey, the Lord picks us up and carries us. We are his beloved and he loves us deeply.
Re-read today’s passage…
May you take the promises of this love letter from God to you into the week ahead. Know with assurance that whatever you must endure, your Good Shepherd is watching over you with the utmost love and protection, and when you most need him, he will pick you up and carry you through. There is never a time he isn’t watching over you, so go in this peace, and serve him in all you do!
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to always remember that you are my shepherd, and I lack nothing. You make me lie down in green pastures, you lead me beside quiet waters, you refresh my soul. You guide me along the right paths for your name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!