All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way
Isaiah 53:6a (King James Version)
Tonight’s Scripture is a fitting testament to the human condition: we all have gone astray. As you know, sheep aren’t the most brightest animals on the planet; they need a shepherd to keep them in line. Left unattended on a pasture, sheep will wander all over the place as long as there is grass to eat-even if danger lurks about. Isaiah saw this in his day and recorded it.
We’re no different today. We’re all over the place as a species; each left to his/her own devices. We have wandered from the fold of God where we were to live full lives. Instead we’ve gone astray, wandering into places where danger awaits yet totally oblivious. If Isaiah were here he would say the exact same thing.
We’re a species easily distracted. We have our noses in our cell phones in crowded places. We get absorbed in mindless TV. We spend hours on social media. We will get side-tracked from important (and immediate) issues by some lame news story which is more sensation than substance. Plus, we go along with the crowd. We trade in our convictions, core values, and heart-based living for the popular opinion of the hour. We damn any differing opinion or dissenting voice for fear it may upset our apple cart and make us think. In fact, we cashed in out thinking for just doing. We’re compliant as sheep.
This shit goes on in the church; the one place where the opposite should be taking place. We have preachers majoring in the minors dealing with the trivial to distract us-and themselves-from the “weightier matters of the law” that Jesus spoke of: justice and mercy and faithfulness (ref. Matthew 23:23). We see a groupthink on Sunday morning fueled by “devotional moments” that are more show than spirit. We want to be distracted by “worship experiences” to get “high on Jesus” so we don’t have to face our immediate issues and use our God-given powers to deal with them.
The danger is that we become vulnerable to that which is not beneficial for our growth. We soon will find ourselves far from God (if not already) wandering into dangerous territory. We will find ourselves being distracted and mass-swayed to the point that we will lose our very wills and souls. Soon others will control our lives and we will be compliant and docile…
For Lent, I want us to ponder on this portion of Scripture which is taken from a larger context in Isaiah 53. I know many will wonder why I am only focusing on this passage; because it was on my heart. Let us take this Lenten season time to think how we ourselves have become sheep that have gone astray. Then let us look to God for guidance back to His/Her fold where we can live the lives God desires for us.
Prayer: God our Shepherd, guide us back to your fold where there is life. Forgive us for being distracted by the things of this world, and for ceding our minds and souls to popular opinion. Forgive us from deliberately wandering away into dangerous territory. Guide us back to you we pray. In Your Name, Amen.