Focus verses: Jeremiah 33:10-13
After all the gloom and doom and judgment and retribution we’ve read, it comes back to the fact that God still loves this headstrong people he covenanted with. He has plans to restore them to their former well-being and prosperity.
Even in the midst of the judgment and retribution, he has plans for the children of Israel.
In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them.
The shepherd would find a sheltered place for the sheep at night – generally a cave or other kind of sheep fold – which was protected on all sides from marauding predators. As they entered, the shepherd would make them pass – one by one – under his hand. He checked the sheep for foreign objects entangled in the fleece. And it gave him the opportunity to verify that the sheep was not lamed in some fashion from the day’s travels.
While this passage seems to be talking about the sheep of the shepherds, it can also be an allusion to the people of God. The children of Israel have been faithless, straying hither and thither to whatever new god or idol struck their fancy. Passing under His hand, they are individually tended and checked.
Of course, the sheep have to walk under the hand of the shepherd. And the people need to walk under the Hand of God. They can do this by reading His word, singing His praises, and listening for His Holy Spirit.
Bring us back into the sheepfold when we are led astray. Grant us the wisdom to check with You before undertaking any path, no matter how beautiful it seems at first glance.