I’m sure we can all recall hearing, at one time or another, those stories of dogs who go missing and against great odds, and usually over a great number of miles, find their way back home. You know, the dog who goes missing on a camping trip half way across the country and somehow, weeks or months later, shows up on their master’s doorstep. Kind of amazing! But this morning, I’m reminded that ain’t gonna happen with sheep.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,
for I do not forget Your commandments. (Psalm 119:176 ESV)
Kind of an interesting last word in what’s been a psalm marathon covering all kinds of terrain relating to the Word of God. One-hundred-seventy-six verses, each one focused on some aspect of God’s revealed Word . . . twenty-two stanzas . . . each stanza an acrostic, each line starting with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet . . . the first lines of the first stanza all starting with “A,” the last line of the last stanza starting with the Hebrew “Z” equivalent . . . carefully crafted . . . carefully thought out . . . every word God-breathed. And I’m struck with how it finishes.
I do not forget Your commandments . . . yet I know I have a tendency to drift . . . a predisposition to lose my way, from time to time . . . like a sheep . . . not like a dog . . . so Lord, come find me.
You might think that given the songwriter’s love for the Word . . . His hunger for the Word . . . the hours spent ingesting and meditating on the Word . . . his holy determination to obey the Word . . . that someone like that wouldn’t worry too much about straying from the Word. But that same Word, like a sharp two-edged sword, splays deep, discerning the inner heart, and revealing the weakness of the flesh. In it we not only learn of God and His wondrous ways, but in it we also learn of the frailty of our frame . . . the flakiness of our old nature . . . and our dependence on God’s Spirit for power to walk in accord with our new nature. And thus, we are aware that we can be apt to lose our sense of “true north” from time to time and to wander off like sheep. And that we need a shepherd who seeks lost sheep and draws them again to Himself. And so we cry, “Come find me.”
And, as I sit here this morning, noodling on this great song’s final line, I’m not thinking I am in a “lost sheep” state. Don’t believe I’ve gone astray or have taken a wrong turn recently. But I do believe, apart from the abiding grace of God, I could. Like the hymn-writer put it, “Prone to wander, LORD I feel it.”
So there is a measure of comfort knowing that straying sheep can cry out to seeking Shepherd. No confidence in my ability to find my way back, but confidence in His ability, and desire, to call me back to Himself . . . and that, hearing the Shepherd’s voice, this sheep, by His grace, will follow that voice back to safety. Confident, that should the need so arise, the Shepherd might even hoist this confused and turned around little lamb upon His shoulders and carry him back to green pastures.
Seek Your servant.
Not to presume upon it . . . but to rest in it. I serve a Savior who seeks the lost . . . and retrieves those who wander. The grace of God is not a “once and done” deal . . . but the well is deep. And should I lose my way a bit . . . because I have loved and known His Word, I know that I too can cry out, “Come find me.”
O’, what a psalm . . . O’ what a Savior . . . O’ what a Great Shepherd!
To Him be all glory!