Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. — Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. — Nehemiah 8:8

February 1, 2007

Volume 6 Number 3

Finding the Lost Sheep

Confused by deceiving "shepherds," the people whom Yahweh calls "My sheep," wandered through mountains and "upon every high hill" as they were scattered "upon all the face of the earth:"

6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yes, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. -Ezekiel 34

What did they do upon these mountains and high hills? Such high places were the sites where the pagan "religious world" worshipped their gods in the form of images.

King Solomon of Israel began leading his people into confusion by bringing an Egyptian wife to Jerusalem while he built his house, the house of Yahweh, and the walls of the city. Furthermore, even though he "loved Yahweh," he and the people of Israel were attracted to "high places" as places of sacrifice and worship:

1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of Yahweh, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

2 Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of Yahweh, until those days.

3 And Solomon loved Yahweh, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. -1 Kings 3

King Solomon eventually became so attracted to the pagan gods that he turned his affection toward them. While perhaps claiming to love Yahweh, he also worshipped the goddess and other false gods:

5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and went not fully after Yahweh, as did David his father.

7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed to their gods. -Kings 11

As the son of King David, who was a shepherd, Solomon should have been a shepherd to Israel, teaching them by his example to trust only in Yahweh. Instead, he led Israel into confusion. He built places of worship upon the "hill that is before Jerusalem."

Because of Solomon’s sin of worshipping the pagan goddess and gods, Yahweh took ten of the twelve tribes of Israel away from his family. Concerning Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, Yahweh told Jeroboam:

35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it to you, even ten tribes.

36 And to his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

37 And I will take you, and you shall reign according to all that your soul desires, and shall be king over Israel. -1 Kings 11

When Yahweh told Jeroboam that he would be the king over the ten tribes of Israel to reign over "according to all that your soul desires," He in effect cast Israel out of His sight. Jeroboam quickly moved to adopt many of the worship practices that Israel had already learned under the leadership of King Solomon. Jeroboam, however, took them even farther. In addition to continuing worship in "high places," he even invented his own holy days:

31 And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. -1 Kings 12

While King Jeroboam was leading the northern kingdom of Israel into idolatrous worship, the son of King Solomon, King Rehoboam, was also leading the southern kingdom of Judah into idolatrous worship:

22 And Judah did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.

23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel. -1 Kings 14

While Judah had an occasional righteous king, the kings of both Judah and Israel led Yahweh’s people, His "sheep," into rebellion against Him. They loved the images of gods and goddesses and the kind of worship practices which accompanied such love.

As King David was a shepherd, the leaders of Yahweh’s people should have also been shepherds. Instead, they were rulers that confused the flock of God by teaching them falsely. Yahweh says through the prophet Ezekiel:

1 And the word of Yahweh came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

3 You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock.

4 The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. -Ezekiel 34

Because of Israel’s idol worship, which their kings had encouraged, Yahweh used Assyria to destroy and scatter them. Likewise, He used Babylon to destroy and scatter Judah:

17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria has devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones. -Jeremiah 50

Scattered and confused, the sheep of Yahweh took their idolatrous religious practices and spread them as they wandered all over the world:

5 And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.

6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yes, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. -Ezekiel 34

Nevertheless, Yahweh is merciful. He says that He will search and seek His scattered sheep:

11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. -Ezekiel 34

He continues:

15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord Yahweh.

16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. -Ezekiel 34

Yahweh says He will set a Shepherd, whom He calls "David," over Israel:

22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

24 And I Yahweh will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I Yahweh have spoken it. -Ezekiel 34

Yahshua (Jesus) told His disciples to preach to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel:"

6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

7 And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. -Matthew 10

He also said:

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. -John 10

The Good Shepherd has found the "lost sheep." Having laid down His life for us, we can enter into His pasture by faith. As we feed on the Word of God, deceiving shepherds will no longer be able to lead us astray.


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