I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:14)
Among the various images of Jesus Christ depicted in the Bible, Jesus as the good Shepherd is the one that I have loved most since my childhood. Hymns that describe the stories and the relationships of the good Shepherd and His sheep are also my favorite.
That when we trust in God
And present our requests to Him
Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Ex 33:3)
After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, God said that He would not go with the people, but would send an angel instead. So, God showed the Israelites that their perverseness made this severe punishment necessary for them. However, even in His judgment, He remembered to show mercy to them. The Ten Commandments and related laws defined Israel’s relationship with God. To obey those laws was to act righteously, because such obedience maintained the covenant between God and His people. As David wrote, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Ps 103:7-8).
So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:17-18)
After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, Moses spent forty days and nights interceding for the people. Finally, God honored Moses’ bold intercession, and He promised to restore His relationship with Israel. Yet Moses was still not satisfied, and He wanted more in his personal relationship with God. We may have been Christians for many years, but have we ever really longed for some personal experience or direct knowledge of God? We all ask for personal blessings, but how much do we desire to know God Himself? That is what Moses asked for: “Show me Your glory”.
Recently, some brothers and sisters who had not come to church in a long time came back to attend service. I was both surprised and glad to see them again. When I told other members that they had returned, they also reacted with surprise and joy. However, our reactions made me realize one thing – in a sense, we were surprised because we were not expecting them to come back. In a sense, though we must have prayed for these lost sheep at one point in time, we were surprised because for a long time, we may have forgotten about them.