Words from the Heart for Sunday May 22nd, 2016
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)
Like a Shepherd
When the Lord’s people were far off in a foreign land, He had promised that He would bring them home like a shepherd brings home a wandering sheep. How has Lord has brought you back from a time of wandering? Is there someone you know who is wandering away and needs the Shepherd to bring them back?
Wool continues to have very little commercial value for Canadian breeders, for whom lamb meat has become the main product. Lamb is a very tender red meat with a more distinct flavour than beef or pork. This particular and unique flavour is the result of its specific content of fatty acids. Although it has been increasing in the last 10 years, lamb meat consumption is relatively low compared to other meats. It amounts to just over one kilogram per person annually, while the consumption of beef, for example, is about 20 kilograms per person per year. Despite this, Canada produces less than half of the lamb meat it consumes; the remainder is supplied by importing, mostly from New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Immigration is predicted to lead to a significant increase in lamb meat consumption in Canada through 2020.
In Bible times the shepherd was considered to be at the bottom of the social ladder. Their life was hard and they worked long hours with great responsibility. The sheep played an important part in the life of Israel – the meat was used for food and the wool for cloth and clothing. A good shepherd took his role seriously and knew each and every one of his sheep. When Jesus taught the principles of the kingdom of heaven, it became obvious that His perspective is often in contrast with the principles of the world. So it shouldn’t surprise us that God often speaks of Himself as a shepherd – He chooses the lowly things of the world to describe Himself. We see this clearly in Isaiah 40:11: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” It is amazing to think that the Lord God of the universe calls Himself by one of the lowliest of professions – a shepherd. But He knew how much a good shepherd cared for the sheep for which they were responsible. They would lay down their lives for their sheep if necessary. Which is exactly what God has done for us. He had laid down His life for us so that we can walk with freedom. Know that you are loved by the shepherd God, who only has the best in mind for His sheep and looks after their every need.
These have been words from the heart.