July 24, 2017

Our new memory verse for this week:

Isaiah 53:6 (NLT) — 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

If you had to be compared to an animal what animal would you want to be compared too? Many of our sports teams choose animals to be named after. They seem to choose animals that aren’t afraid to protects themselves; animals that can fight and rip their enemy apart. Animals that know their territory and defend it well. The most popular animals chosen are lions, tigers, and bears. These animals strike fear into the hearts of other animals. I don’t know of any team who chooses to be identified with sheep.

Isaiah doesn’t liken us to lions, tigers, and bears; instead he likens us to sheep! Sheep do not strike fear into the heart of their predators. Sheep are not good fighters. They can’t rip apart their enemies. They can’t defend their territory. They can’t even protect themselves. They don’t know where to go unless they have a shepherd to lead them to the pastures and the water. They would all be killed by predators if they didn’t have a shepherd to protect them.

Isaiah says that humans are like sheep. We are not good fighters against Satan. We can’t rip him apart. We can’t defend ourselves against Satan. We can’t protect ourselves from Satan. We also need a shepherd to defend us, strengthen us, give us tools to fight with and one who will lead us along the right paths to the right places where we can be spiritually nourished.

The results of not yielding to Jesus, the ultimate good shepherd, is the world that we live in today! It is a world that for the most part said ‘no thank you’ when Jesus offered to be its shepherd. After all why do we need a shepherd when we are lions, tigers, and bears? We know how to live this life. So deceived by Satan off we, the world went. The world thinks it knows the best path when it comes to sex, drugs, gender, love, leadership, politics, handling money, pursuing pleasure, spirituality, raising children, etc. It is a world that has been deceived by Satan. He has made every path in life look better and more desirable than God’s path.  Just like sheep the world has gone astray on all these other paths.

Leaving God’s path is called sin. Honesty is God’s path. If I lie or subtly deceive someone  it means I have sinned or left God’s path. Sex within marriage is God’s path. Any other kind of path that leads to  sex is sin no matter how you package.

The really cool thing about God is that he made a way to get rid of all our sin and get us back on the right path. He laid all of our sins on his son Jesus. If we confess that we have been on the wrong path and ask for his forgiveness, he does! We let Jesus be our shepherd to lead us down the right path which is the path of righteousness.

Ephesians 4:31–32 (NLT) — 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Psalm 119:105 (NLT) — 105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Be Inspired Hilltop!