Israel and Judah have been behaving badly. They have done evil in the eyes of the Lord. The people of the land are breaking many of the commandments, including coveting and stealing. The ones who consider themselves to be prophets are actually leading the people astray. The leaders of these two great lands treat they people they rule with hate in their hearts. They take bribes and do not judge people equally. But a chosen few will be led like sheep to their pen, by the One who will pass through the gate before them.
Sometimes it can seem like the entire world is working against us. It can wear us down and we grow weary. It seems like we can’t go on any further. But then we can remember all that God has done, and what He can do for us in our lives. We can cry out to Him, knowing that He can bring us peace and restore us in our time of need.
In this chapter, several parables are told by Jesus to explain what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. There is the parable of the sower of seeds, the parable of the weeds, parable of the mustard seed, yeast, hidden treasure and the pearl, and fishing net. In most of these parables, Jesus teaches about how those who have true faith will see the the kingdom, while those whose “faith” is more for show in public places will not see the kingdom. Most of this is mud he is slinging at the religious leaders, the Pharisees, who place themselves high above everyone else, yet they are complete hypocrites.
There are so many days when it seems like we are fighting an uphill battle, and the path only grows steeper day after day. It can get to a point where there is no end in sight at times. In the past week alone, I’ve had someone try to hack my Apple account, got a fraud alert for one of my credit cards, had to have my garage door replaced because it got hit by a car (not mine), work piling up, teething baby, and the list goes on. Keep my head above water? Barely sometimes. Yet, I know that all of these things that come my way on a daily or weekly basis are all just minor bumps in the road. By my faith, I can rely on the fact that Jesus has my back. There might be lots of turmoil in the world around me. But, as we read in Micah,
12“I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture;
the place will throng with people.
13 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
the Lord at their head.”
Jesus will be with us like a shepherd leads his sheep to pasture. As was in Craig’s sermon this past week, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He knows us by name, and cares for us. All the rest of the craziness of this world doesn’t matter when we have Jesus on our team. Thanks be to God.