Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone to death those who are sent to you. Many times I wanted to gather your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you did not let me. Matthew 23:37 NCV
God with a broken heart?
Is it possible for “Perfect Love” to be so disappointed, so distressed, that His heart actually breaks?
(Yes, I believe so.)
I believe that lost sheep and absent chicks, and the Church’s indifference for these absent ones, God finds so distressing, that He weeps with broken heart over those who have wandered from the tender love of His arms, and the stability of the nest.
(Of course, I speak of how dearly God loves His lost chicks and wandering sheep.)
“PRODIGALS” that leave the safety of “THE NEST”
I would dare to say that all of us who name ourselves “Christians” know of someone (maybe several someone’s) who once attended church, but have now forsaken the practice.
When Jesus weeps over Jerusalem with breaking heart, He calls them His chicks.
But He also calls us His sheep, and He proudly proclaims Himself to be our Shepherd.
And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.MATTHEW 9:36 TLB
Jesus often compared people to sheep.
Watch that you don’t treat a single one of these childlike believers arrogantly. You realize, don’t you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven? Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.MATTHEW 18:10-14 the message
God’s concern for the absent and lost
How dearly God cares and longs for the return of His prodigal and lost sheep.
(How His heart breaks for them!)
Do our heart’s break for them?
Can you also imagine how He looks on any cold indifference over these ones who have wandered away?
Do we seek them out and invite them back?
What must our Great Shepherd think, if we care so little for His stray lambs who have wandered away?
If you doubt it, listen to the words of Ezekiel:
Then this message came to me from the Lord:
“Son of dust, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Say to them, ‘The Lord God says to you: Woe to the shepherds who feed themselves instead of their flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the best food and wear the finest clothes, but you let your flocks starve. You haven’t taken care of the weak, nor tended the sick, nor bound up the broken bones, nor gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with force and cruelty. So they were scattered, without a shepherd. They have become a prey to every animal that comes along. My sheep wandered through the mountains and hills and over the face of the earth, and there was no one to search for them or care about them.
“‘Therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, says the Lord God, you abandoned my flock, leaving them to be attacked and destroyed, and you were no real shepherds at all, for you didn’t search for them. You fed yourselves and let them starve; therefore, I am against the shepherds, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock—and take away their right to eat. I will save my flock from being taken for their food.’”
For the Lord God says: “I will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places they were scattered in that dark and cloudy day. And I will bring them back from among the people and nations where they were, back home to their own land of Israel, and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel and by the rivers where the land is fertile and good. Yes, I will give them good pasture on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in peace and feed in luscious mountain pastures. I myself will be the Shepherd of my sheep and cause them to lie down in peace,” the Lord God says. “I will seek my lost ones, those who strayed away, and bring them safely home again. I will put splints and bandages upon their broken limbs and heal the sick. And I will destroy the powerful, fat shepherds; I will feed them, yes—feed them punishment! Ezekiel 34:1-16 TLB
Tender words for sheep…
But, “Oh my,” the stern warning for indifferent shepherds!
Jesus gave the Church another stern warning in the Book of Revelation. Read here His words to the Church of Laodicea.
“Write this letter to the leader of the church in Laodicea:
“This message is from the one who stands firm, the faithful and true Witness of all that is or was or evermore shall be, the primeval source of God’s creation:
“I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!
“You say, ‘I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
“My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight. I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God.
“Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. I will let everyone who conquers sit beside me on my throne, just as I took my place with my Father on his throne when I had conquered. Let those who can hear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
Revelation 3:14-22 TLB