WHY AM I A CAPTIVE?
“Since Israel is stubborn like a stubborn heifer, can the Lord now pasture them like lamb in a large field?” Hosea 4:16
Cattle can afford to roam open pastures because they are not easy prey. Their size makes them secure. A lamb is another matter. He is vulnerable as soon as he strays from his shepherd. He is easily lost, easily overtaken by many enemies. Hosea’s point is clear.
Christ died for His sheep and He unites them in His fold. When one begins to stray, another is supposed to call out, “Where in the world are you going? Jesus is going this way. Stay with us!” Still, there are casualties because one sheep begins to believe that he’s a cow, that he can go his own way and survive. Despite the warnings, he wanders off to forage in pastures where the food will not agree with him. He didn’t see the tears in the shepherd’s eyes as left. The shepherd always knows what awaits the wanderer.
He begins to eat, drink, and sleep in a distant field. For a while, everything goes well. He relishes the exhilaration of complete independence. He does not understand that a predator will come, that he will be devoured. It’s just a matter of time.
We cannot behave like a cow and expect to be secure. I cannot live anyway I want and expect to be free of the consequences of a wandering sheep. Yet, when my sin bears consequences, why do I yell at God like it’s His fault? Poor God. Many thousands of times a day, He is blamed for things that are not of His doing. These accusations comprise the ‘ever intriguing storyline of the cows and sheep’.
Today, I stick like glue to my Savior. I keep my heart quiet to discern His voice. When I see that He’s taking a new direction, I align my path accordingly. I draw close to the other sheep that are listening because we will have each other’s backs. If my listening skills are temporarily dulled or distracted, others in the fold will tap me on the shoulder and make sure I stay with the group. When I stay with other true disciples, there is safety in numbers.
I learned the hard way that I am not invincible. The world is full of minefields and I’m only safe when I walk in your footsteps, shepherd’s crook never out of my view. Amen