“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:176)
In the economy of God concerning our growth, many times God allows us to lose our way. We find that we are lost and cannot see or find the way back. Our first response is to blame others that we separated from the herd and started seeking our own way. But the truth is, it is not the fault of others (yes they have faults); but the error is found in our secret rebellion to God.
To go “astray” starts with a seed thought; with a tired warrior; a wandering eye; a divided heart. James 1:14 states, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” He continues (verse 15), “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” We allow the philosophy of this world to entice us. However we could not be enticed if lust had not been conceived in our hearts.
Lust can be normal or evil. Lust is evil when it causes us to doubt God; to desire to taste the fruit of compromise. Our minds begin to say, “Maybe God really did not mean this; surely God did not want us to be separatist from this world.” Not really knowing that when we allow the doubt of God’s Word to lodge and be entertained in our hearts, we have already made a choice. That choice is to go away from God, not far, only a short distance. “I am tired. I don’t feel like reading my Bible or praying today.” Then you allow sin to remain un-confessed. Each day you separate a little more from the Shepherd until you wake up and find that you are separated from the flock.
At first your flesh tells you that you are not lost, but that you needed this freedom; you needed to try your own wings; you needed to leave the home unguarded and become a career woman; you needed to develop your talents; you needed a night out with the boys; you needed to let down certain moral values. But then we find, as the Prodigal found, as a son of the Father found, that this way was wrong. What he thought that he wanted (his inheritance, his freedom away from his father, to do as he pleased) came to rot in his mouth. God did not bless his riotous living (Luke 15:13-14). He spent all he had and began to be in want. He came to himself and began to see what he did have at the father’s house. He began to repent, to change and headed back home.
So in our text, Psalm 119:176, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments,” the Psalmist began to petition God to seek him, “Come and get me, rescue me.” He bases his petition on two things: 1) I am “Thy servant”. He reminded God that he was a son of God. He reminded God of the Father / son relationship. 2) God I cannot forget Your Word. I know what You have commanded me. I know I am to love You with all my heart, soul, and mind. God I know that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10).
If you have lost your way; if you have gone astray from the Shepherd, Christ; if you have lost fellowship with Christ; if you can’t find His Face – it is because you left the Light and started walking in the way of darkness. You have allowed your iniquities and sins to separate you from God. (Isaiah 59:2) (1 John 1:6-7)
The answer lies in the Love of the Father, an eternal love, an unchanging love, a love that causes the Shepherd (the Holy Spirit) to convince you of sin, of judgment, and of righteousness. He is the Spirit of Truth and He will guide you into all truth. He will create a desire in you as he did in the Prodigal and in the Psalmist, “seek Thy servant” – “I have sinned against heaven and before thee.” Confess your sins (Psalm 51:1-18) (Luke 15:18, 21) (1 John 1:8-10). And what does the Father do? (Luke 15:20), “…But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” The father received him, robed him, fed him, and made merry, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:24)
If you have lost your way, cry out to God, “Seek Thy servant.” Confess your sins and return home.
(This devotional was previously posted on August 5, 2010. Thank you!)