“I guess we’re eating out tonight,” my son muttered as he surveyed the empty countertop. Just five minutes earlier, he’d set a frozen pizza on the counter and gone upstairs. When he returned, all that remained was the pizza’s cardboard base. Looking to his left, he noticed suspicious crumbs around Zoe’s mouth. Zoe, a Goldendoodle, had easily reached up, grabbed the raw pizza, and wolfed it down.
Zoe is prone to barking. She’s been wearing a no-bark collar and is not happy. She slumps around the house in dejection, obviously pouting. Eating her family’s dinner was just one more way to let them know her feelings.
My son had rescued Zoe from potential death several years before. She now lives a life of ease with a family who loves her. Yet, when faced with a need to correct her barking issue, she responded with sulking and stealing food.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 ESV)
We, like Zoe, often respond to correction in negative ways. Isaiah compares us to sheep — notoriously stupid animals who need a shepherd’s constant correction and monitoring. If a sheep rolls over to the point where she can’t get her legs under her, she’ll lie there with her legs stuck in the air until the shepherd comes to help — she is cast. If he doesn’t arrive, she will perish. Often, she gets in this position through poor diet choices or because she chooses to lie down in a soft spot — so comfortable and rounded that she can’t climb out.
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep.” (Psalm 119:176a ESV)
How many times have I figuratively lain on my back with my legs in the air — cast down — unable to recover because I made poor choices — diet or otherwise! Or I sought the soft spot, rather than choosing to go through whatever corrective situation — like Zoe’s no-bark collar — that I needed in order to get back on the right track.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 ESV)
The good news: Isaiah and John both declare that Jesus, our Shepherd, took on Himself all of our iniquities — poor choices, deliberate sins, vices, and general wickedness. He willingly laid down His life to rescue our poor cast-down selves that we might live forever with Him.
“For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25 ESV)
Zoe’s not human, but we can learn from her behaviour. She’s making poor choices right now. We’ve made poor choices as well, but we’ve been rescued and claimed by the Shepherd. Will we choose to respond to Him? He’s waiting to welcome us. Pray with me:
Prayer: Father, I don’t want to behave like a sheep, getting into situations where I’m vulnerable to sin and disease. You laid down Your life for me. I want to live my life for You. Amen.
Copyright © 2022, by Sharon Cook <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission