Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Ezekiel 34:23-31 (NRSV)
I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid. I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations. They shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD. You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord GOD.
When I was in college, I worked as a camp counselor during the summers. Most of the time we stayed in cabins, but once a week we slept out under tarps in the woods. Those nights were always my favorite times: sitting around campfires, eating s’mores, telling stories, and watching the stars. But the younger campers were convinced that that night they would be eaten by a bear or something equally as fearsome. Sometimes they were unable to enjoy being out in nature because they were too afraid of what else might be out there with them.
In the above passage from Ezekiel, God promised the scattered sheep a land with no wild beasts, where the sheep can sleep soundly without having to worry about being devoured. Through this scripture, God promises us that we do not need to worry about the things in our lives that mean to destroy us because our Lord can protect us from all harm. We are also promised another land someday where there will truly be no more suffering, sorrow, or beasts that seek to destroy.
God, there is so much evil in our world today. Sometimes the wild beasts seek to destroy us. Sometimes we have to watch them take away someone we love. We hear about innocent children being killed and we wonder where is this peace that you have promised. Help us to trust in you even when evil seems to be winning. Amen.
Go with God.