“For the shepherds have become stupid, and have not sought the Lord: therefore, they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered.” (Jeremiah 10:21) This is a word for modern man and modern America if ever there was one! Likewise, the holy values of Jesus Christ today stand in stark contrast to the dissolute, debauched, immoral, communistic, violent, and greedy manifestations of sin in our society. Idolatrous worship and atheism in American society today make a mockery of Almighty God and lead the fellowship of Christ-centered believers to draw nearer to Christ than ever before, and to eagerly pray for His Second Coming.
In midst of this baleful and corrupt picture, Ezekiel reminds us that God is still seeking for believers who will worship Him in spirit and truth. God tells Ezekiel, “–“I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out.” (Ezekiel 34:11) He will execute judgment on leaders and members of the flock. Then there is a great messianic prophecy: “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.” (Ezekiel 34: 23-24) “My servant David will be prince…” refers to Messiah who will be in the line of David, and that is Jesus Christ. The prophetic Word becomes even more specific in Micah 5:2 which states: “But you Bethlehem Ephrathah though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.”
Only Christ can successfully deal with the runaway egregious sins of our time, and of any era.
Today, writers speak of the need for revival. But while this writer certainly endorses prayer for revival, I would rather say that we are in need of the Second Coming. A higher order theophany is my first prayer priority.
When Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flocks (either as a goat-herder or a shepherd), he saw the burning bush. He was afraid, but the voice of God spoke to him and received the supernatural revelation of his prophetic life-purpose. Later, when the Lord delivered the Ten Commandments, He not only spoke to Moses, but he spoke the Ten Commandments with thunderous clarity to the two million Israelites assembled at Mt. Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:4, Exodus 20:1).
In parallel fashion, the birth of Jesus was announced to the lowly shepherds in the fields tending their flocks. First an angel announced His birth. Then, a “Heavenly host” glorified God and resonated the joy of the Messiah’s having been born. No vote was taken by the shepherds such as “Vote yes if you believe the angels; vote no if you don’t believe the angels.” There was no doubting Thomas after that announcement. No. They picked themselves up and went to Bethlehem Ephrathah to look for the infant Jesus.
Using reverse parallelism from the Old Testament, the revealed truth of Christ is now motivating these lowly shepherds. God is revealed to the lower socio-economic class of real shepherds, and not to the metaphorical shepherds of the OT. God Himself came because the worldly shepherds – prophets, priests, and kings — had failed over and over again to lead the children of God in the path of godliness.
R.M.Edgar, writing about this incredibly wonderful event of the angels revealing Christ’s birth, states, “Coming with dazzling light, perhaps the Shekinah-glory encircling him, he first frightened the poor shepherds….It was needful, therefore, that he should first put to flight their fears, and then proclaim the glad tidings of a Savior’s birth, which gospel is intended for all people…. Such is the gospel. It is a message about a personal Savior, who, in spite of all appearances, is “the Mighty God, the Father of Eternity, and the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Just as it was revealed to the shepherds, we are privileged to know and to rejoice in our Lord and Savior this Christmas. He is offering every burdened human heart a profound and precious peace. He inspires and inculcates love between persons promising eternal life with Him. And through Him, we are moving on an upward path of peace and purity.
AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME, HE INTERCEDES TO TAKE US TO A HIGHER AND DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF WHO HE IS. HE ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE, BUT TO BECOME A NEW CREATURE WHO FOLLOWS HIM THROUGH THIS LIFE AND INTO ETERNITY. AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME, HE INTERCEDES IN OUR LIVES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHERE WE ARE UNABLE TO AFFECT CHANGE.
CHRISTMAS 1988 – 30 years ago – I was living in solitary misery in a furnished room in Flatbush, Brooklyn, USA. I had come to believe in Christ, that he had died for the forgiveness of my sins, and that on the third day he was resurrected by the power of Almighty God the Father. I was singing “Silent Night” and other carols to console myself in my loneliness and despair.
As I was singing, a still, small voice deep within (not a booming voice in the room) said, “You must be born again.” I replied in my thought, “But I am born again already; I believe in you Lord.” The small voice said, “You must be born again; there’s a church for you on Flatbush Avenue.” Nothing else was said or experienced.
The next day, I walked the six blocks to Foster and Flatbush Aves, and spotted a classic sign “Jesus Saves.” I called the number on the front of the storefront church and asked the woman who answered when their next service was. I heard her say to someone else, “There’s a white guy on the phone.” I went to their next service, and answered the altar call, and have been walking in new life with Him ever since…with no regrets, no doubts, no misgivings. All praise and honor to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME, THE LORD ALWAYS COMES TO HIS PEOPLE, TO SAVE THEM, TO HELP THEM, AND TO BLESS THEM. AND HE IS COMING AGAIN.