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.
At once, this verse is both a commentary on the desperation of Man’s condition before God and a prophesy about the sacrifice that was to be made by the Messiah in becoming the propitiation for our sins.
During worship and prayer this morning during church I was meditating on the love that the Lord has for His children. I don’t know about you, but I have wandered away from the Lord several times in my life. Whether by alcohol and drugs, of by engaging in immoral sexual practices, or by putting other things first in my life which are, if we are being honest, forms of idolatry, I have strayed far from the Lord’s chosen path for me on a number of occasions. On any of those occasions the Lord would have been more than justified to just throw up His hands and say, “Fine! If you like being apart from Me so well the just GO! I am finished with you!”
But He never did, and He never would. But today in particular, I was feeling enveloped by a love so strong that even my worst sin would never even dent His steadfast love for me.
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. — Luke 15:4-7
Today, I saw this parable in a different light. I believe that it not only refers to the person who strays in a bit way by falling into drug use or infidelity to one’s spouse or anything that may draw us away from our Savior’s love and guidance for months or even years. It also refers to the one, I believe, who falls into temptation and sin even for an hour, even for a minute. At the moment when we realize that we are engaging in sin, and that we are breaking our Savior’s heart, when we turn again to follow Him who bought us with His own blood, there is rejoicing in heaven that a wayward son or daughter, a wandering sheep, has turned away from the darkness of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and has chosen rather to gaze into the eternally loving face of their Savior.
Lord, reveal Your steadfast love that I may choose the world less and less, and You more and more. Amen!