Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:35-36

God has always been concerned for the people he loves. He delights for his children to live in safety and protection, but too often we wander off on our own. It is an ancient problem. Making use of the metaphor of sheep and shepherd, Ezekiel gave a harsh message to the leaders of his day.

You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them.

Ezekiel 34:4-6

So my people are wandering like lost sheep; they are attacked because they have no shepherd.

Zechariah 10:2

Jesus saw the people of his day with the same eyes that God saw Israel hundreds of years earlier. Compassion for their well-being overwhelmed him, concern for lack of leadership consumed him. Perhaps it is this overwhelming love for people that moved God to come down himself, in the person of Jesus, and provide the needed cure.

As I think on this, I am reminded of Israel’s rejection of God’s leadership and their request for a human king so they could be like other nations. God allowed it saying, “Do everything they say to you for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer.” (1 Samuel 6:7)

God’s heart is to be our king and lead us through this life successfully, like a shepherd leads his sheep. Jesus illustrated it well while he walked this earth, still offering to be our shepherd.

Will you allow yourself to be led by an unseen shepherd to places of rest, satisfaction and safety?

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