07/23/Th – Searching for the Lost

Joshua 6:1-27; Luke 15:1-10; Psalms 81:8-16; Proverbs 19:26

NT: “All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to him. And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance. Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:1-10‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The parable of the 1 lost sheep often gets used in worship songs and taken out of context. Jesus was addressing the judge mental Pharisees and scribe that were complaining about Him spending time with tax collectors and sinners (the outcasts of society). All sheep need a shepherd to lead them. Sheep are quite incapable of surviving without someone to lead them to food and water. Isaiah 53:6 declares that all of us have strayed away and gotten lost. The Pharisees and scribes would have been familiar with that passage of scripture, but they refused to apply that to themselves. They did not believe that they needed a shepherd, and most certainly didn’t believe they needed to repent of sin. The parable of the 1 lost sheep is about tax collectors and sinners that are helplessly lost and know that they need a shepherd compared to self-righteous Pharisees and scribes who don’t see their need to follow the Good Shepherd. The lost tax collectors and sinners have value to the Shepherd, and they need to be found and brought into the fold where they can be cared for and protected. Jesus said later in Luke 19:10 that the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost. The parable of the lost coin continues with that thought. All of the coins have equal value. The woman is not willing to lose any of them – just as the Lord is not willing for any souls to be lost. All people have value… all people are lost and helpless when left to their own devices… all people are worth saving. God doesn’t chase down willful runaways, as we will see later, but He is seeking out any lost people who need and are willing to be led to salvation.

Psalms: “Listen, my people, and I will admonish you. Israel, if you would only listen to me! There must not be a strange god among you; you must not bow down to a foreign god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel did not obey me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own plans. If only my people would listen to me and Israel would follow my ways, I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭81:8-14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Instead of being unwittingly lost, the nation of Israel knew the way to go. They knew who their God was and they knew His ways because they had His word. They willingly rejected the leading of their Shepherd and chose to go after dead idols instead. Instead of chasing after them, God gave them over to their stubborn hearts, knowing that when they humbled themselves and turned back to Him, we would show them mercy, forgive them, and welcome them back with open arms.

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