Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Jeremiah 50:1-7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The word that the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by the prophet Jeremiah:
Declare among the nations and proclaim,
set up a banner and proclaim,
do not conceal it, say:
Babylon is taken,
Bel is put to shame,
Merodach is dismayed.
Her images are put to shame,
her idols are dismayed.
For out of the north a nation has come up against her; it shall make her land a desolation, and no one shall live in it; both human beings and animals shall flee away.
In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel shall come, they and the people of Judah together; they shall come weeping as they seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, and they shall come and join themselves to the Lord by an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.
My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains; from mountain to hill they have gone, they have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, “We are not guilty, because they have sinned against the Lord, the true pasture, the Lord, the hope of their ancestors.”
The prophet, Jeremiah, describes the people of God as lost sheep who have forgotten their fold, their place of refuge and safety. He calls for them to return and establish a new covenant. In this covenant God promises to meet each occasion of their lives with gracious kindness.
The emphasis on sheepfold and pasture land (Vs. 6-7) is a call to covenant community where God cares for them and they care for each other.
This promise from God is described in Joel 2:13, “Your God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”
Jesus’ gentle life and tender teachings fulfill this promise of a new covenant by becoming the Good Shepherd. In this role Jesus becomes a suffering servant who gives his life to save the sheep.
The Church in all ages has often skipped over the gentle teachings of Jesus as the best way to describe the care of God, and has described God with the attributes of world leaders. We need to pick up Jesus’ mantle of service marked by merciful kindness (Luke 1:50. For a deeper understanding of the Jesus’ teachings see my book, Gentle Galilean Glories: The Tender Teachings of Jesus).
“If we had taken up this habit of kindness long ago,
before we fell into darkness,
what suffering might we have spared the world
and ourselves?” (Olivia Hawker’s, The Ragged Edge of Night,
p.72. Set in a small village in Nazi Germany during WW II).
God help us to always be gentle and love one another.
Go with God!