“My people have been lost sheep,
Their shepherds have caused them to go astray
They have turned them away on the mountains.
They have lost their way
And can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold
They have forgotten their resting place.
All who found them devoured them.
Their enemies said,
‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them,
For they sinned against the Lord,
Their true place of rest,
And the hope of their ancestors.’ Jeremiah 50:6-7
Awbad (Lost): to wander away, lose oneself, to perish, destroy, fail, vanish, die, go astray,
- Tawaw (Astray): to stray, deceive, to make err, stagger, seduce, to be out of the way
- Rebets (Resting place/sheepfold ) a place to rest, lie down, a resting dwelling place, used 4 times in scripture as a place of rest and safety in the hands of God for His people and for those who seek Him.
Many of God’s people have wandered away from their safe place of rest and are on the path to death. They have been deceived and led astray. They believed in err and were seduced by new ideas and false teachings. The shepherds assigned over them led them astray and have not gone after them. They wander from mountain to hill alone, they have forgotten their resting place with the Shepherd of their soul.
God’s people have left the flock, many are lost and they have forgotten the way back to their resting place. They can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold to find rest. Why has this happened? The shepherds of the people caused them to go astray, they have ignored them and their cries for help. We, too, have lost our way and are far from God’s laws and ways. Many are wandering and don’t know how to find their way back.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
I recently heard a preacher, Richard Owens Roberts, speak at a local church. He spoke on revival and one thing I heard him repeatedly say that has stayed in my thoughts is this: “Be so close to God, that what troubles Him, should trouble you, commit yourself to seek God. See what He sees, feel what He feels”
The Lord has his heart set on the lost. Just as the Father of the Prodigal son awaited his return, so the Lord eagerly awaits for His lost sheep to return to Him, in fact, He is going after and reaching out to each one. To those who have turned from God and found themselves stumbling, He warns “Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord‘s flock is carried away captive.” Jer 13:16-17
The Lord said “You come to my house and lift up Holy hands, but what are you doing about the Lost?”. I saw a great flood of water quickly rushing by, and in it were many people and all their material possessions. Across the waters or on top of the waters, off to a distance, I could see Jesus. He called out “I call them back”. Surely this is the heart of God – gathering all those who have strayed away.
Jesus came to save the lost
Jesus sought out those who society despised. He didn’t hide in the temple with the righteous, but instead, He went out among the people. Jesus was very specific when He told us who he came for: He told us that He came for the lost (Matt18:11), and He came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). That should be the desire of our heart also.
Who are the Lost?
The bible tells us the lost are God’s people who have strayed from Him, the people of Judah and Israel. “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 10:6
The lost are those in our families who have turned from God, Christians who have made their own way and no longer follow God’s path and in my heart I know there are those around us in our Christian circles and churches who secretly feel lost and they don’t know how to find their way back. “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:4
Warn the Wicked
It’s easy to sit in our churches and bible studies, but to go our after the lost is taking a risk. I recently watched a YouTube of Kirk Cameron talking about his biblical views and his stance on many issues. The media, celebrities and talk shows tried to humiliate him and twist his words. Their words towards him were hateful and demeaning. Don’t expect the world to love you, because it won’t. Jesus said; ” If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you“ Go out and save the lost, grab those about to fall to death, do all you can to teach our next generation about the Lord Jesus, keeping the lost in prayer, doing all you can everyday to warn others and save their soul. We are commissioned to: warn every man, teach them in all wisdom; so we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, warn the unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient towards all men, warn the wicked of his ways and tell him to turn from it. The Lord wants the wicked to change their ways, the unrighteous man to change his thoughts and return unto the Lord- For the Lord will have mercy on him, for he will abundantly pardon. That promise is yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Repent and the Lord will have mercy on you. It doesn’t matter what lies in your past- repent and turn from your ways. Don’t be deceived, we’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but through Christ’s death and resurrection, our sins can be washed away leading us up to God, your heavenly Father- there He has a place prepared for you- each one of you, as if you were his one and only child. Truly amazing!
Some are set in their rebellion, and to them, hear the warnings:
- For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry in 1 Samuel 15
- An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him Proverbs 17:11
- But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them Isaiah 63:10
- Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin Isaiah 30:1
- But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers 1 Samuel 12:15
“They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold”
It’s sad to imagine being lost and not knowing how to find your way back. Have you ever felt that way? When you feel like there is a distance between you and God…when you know you’ve lost that closeness and that first love you once had…. When you feel as if you’ve lost your way, you’re calling Him- but something isn’t right.
You do all the right things – show up to church, take communion, read a proverb or two, proclaim your Christianity to others around you, but deep inside you are still striving to get back to that place. You feel like you’ve slipped, fallen off the path, backslidden and don’t know how to get back to where you were.
I have found that there are two main reasons for this
1- It could be a lie from satan to keep you down and to separate you from God (Sometimes you just need encouragement and to remember how much HE loves you ) or 2- There are sins in your life that you have allowed and made excuses for. Your sins are weighing you down are now pulling from the Lord. Perhaps, you honor Him with your lips, but your have turned your back on him? Perhaps, you have made your own way, your own rules, and your own laws to suit your own lifestyle- I mean…if everyone else is doing it, why can’t I?
Luke 15:4 gives us the first direction on finding our way back- repentance. In Acts, Paul taught us to turn back to God and prove it by the way we live by getting rid of all sin and wickedness.
There was a time I felt lost and I couldn’t find my way back either. I remember trying everything to get back to God. Everything, I mean- well….. I was trying to make my own way. I didn’t want to give up the sins in my life. I had an excuse and a good argument for everything I did. I was surrounded by this world and all it had to offer. I didn’t see any way out. I didn’t realize that turning back to God was as easy as turning around. I felt trapped in my sins and my surroundings. I was completely blinded by the god of this world (Luke 19:10). It’s not always easy to change your direction. It may mean giving up friends, family, where you live, addictions, etc., but you have to make a decision. Do you continue to follow the desires of your flesh or will you stop and follow the desires of the Holy Spirit of God. You read that and think the words are nice, but they aren’t really sinking in your heart. I know. I’ve been there.
It won’t be until you’ve been obedient and changed your ways that you will find what you are looking for. Satan has a master plan of deception for your life. He lets you think you rule, but who do you really serve? Do you serve your lusts and passions or do you ask what God’s will is for you? Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be. So ask yourself…what do you desire? What do you treasure? Is God truly the desire and treasure of your heart….or have you put idols there in His place? The world offers fake happiness. True joy and fulfillment can only come with Christ. Satan wants you to think that you can find happiness with all the world has to offer, but that is a lie. So what’s your excuse? You don’t know how? Start with prayer- on your knees before God with true repentance. Ask him for help.
There is a verse in Jeremiah that I love (NLT) 6:16 This is what the Lord says “STOP at the crossroads and LOOK around. ASK for the old, godly way, and walk in it. TRAVEL it’s path, and you will find rest for your souls”
The Lord gives us 4 instructions
Hear the Word of the Lord:
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil Joel 2:12
“ I have not pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live, turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why shall you die? Your righteousness will not save you, but if you turn from your wickedness and sin and do what is lawful and right you will live.” Isaiah 55
If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. Jeremiah 18:8
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest Matthew 9;36-37
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”Isaiah 1:18
For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God Ez 34:11-17,23-24, 31