August 23, 2022
“My people have become lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains. They have gone along from mountain to hill and have forgotten their resting place … all who come upon them have devoured them.” (Jeremiah 50:6-7)
God made us. As His creatures, fearfully and wonderfully made, He has ordained rhythms for our lives. When we follow Him, like sheep with a great shepherd, we are led into all the right paths. Trusting His perfect leadership, we find joy, productivity, nourishment, balance, purpose … and rest.
WANDERING THE HILLS
Jeremiah, the great voice for God in his generation, speaks to God’s people who have wandered from His design. He lists three primary reasons why they are drifting away from God.
“My people have become lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray”
One of the designs of God is that He calls out leaders to help His people move into the right pastures and life patterns. Study Psalm 23 for a glorious picture of how this is to operate as it describes the Great Shepherd. Every spiritual leader is called to lead people just as Christ leads, under God-initiation.
Sadly, many leaders are not listening to the Father. They give men their opinions of the right directions. Without God’s leadership, they will always lead the people astray.
“They have made them turn aside on the mountains. They have gone along from mountain to hill”
Every single person is designed for a particular way of life. When we wander from God’s design, we search for our heart’s longings in all the wrong places. We go from “mountain to hill” chasing power, pleasure, possessions—anything that we think will satisfy what can only be found in God.
“They have forgotten their resting place.”
This relentless search causes us to lose one of God’s most critical components for a fulfilled, meaningful life. We forget how to rest. We don’t know how to let the Lord “make us lie down in green pastures” and “restore our soul.” We cannot be still. We never get quiet. We fill our lives with the incessant noises of humanistic hunting. God has designed us to sit at His feet and learn from Him, like Mary, and not be “distracted by many things” like Martha.
Practically, if we are not fighting against this worldly pressure, we will never meet with God in the mornings or hear from Him in the night watches. Restless people rarely read their Bibles and hardly pray, listening for God's voice. He is the only One who can give us heaven’s perspective, settle our souls with the assurance of His promises, and renew our minds in ways that bring transformation. In His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Jesus quietly but profoundly reminded us of this. “Come unto Me all you who are weak and heavy-laden,” He announced, “And I will give you rest.” Right rhythms and life-giving rest are only found in one place. Not a plan or a program, but in a Person. Our souls will be restless, as Augustine said until we find our rest in Him.
Father, my heart is happy this morning when I realize what You have prepared for me. The rest You give, the ease of our walk with You, and the indescribable peace when we follow You. Clear my foggy mind, and let me remember where my rest resides. Give me the grace and wisdom to come to You without ceasing, so my life will be a reflection of Your perfect design for those who find their rest in You.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023