If you’ve never read a Francine Rivers book, you are missing out.
I am challenged and convicted, encouraged and enlightened each time I read her books. She has such a way of presenting the grace of God in very difficult circumstances. She also forces you to go back to Scripture to see what it says for yourself. She never demands it, of course. Only gives you an insatiable appetite for it!
The one I’m reading now is about the Prophet Amos. I don’t really know much about this prophet so I am excited to learn about him. What I’ve learned so far is that he started out as a shepherd. And as you can imagine, his story begins tending his flock…
He had a troublesome ewe that would not stay with the rest of the flock. She was prone to wander and would get herself into trouble. This time she had her twin lambs with her and she had led them straight into a pack of waiting wolves. Her life had to end. Not because the wolf got her. No, she died at the hand of her shepherd. She was not only endangering her life, but the lives of the others and this is why he had to take her life.
This is what he said to her, “You will learn to trust me and not think you can find better forage on your own. I will lead you to green pastures and still waters. Sometimes I must wound in order to protect. You will get used to my voice and come when I call. You bear my mark, little one. You are mine. Let me take care of you…”
I was so struck by these words. How often have you heard these same words from THE Shepherd? How often have you wandered off only to have Him come and rescue you? How often has He had to wound you in order to protect you? How often has He carried you upon his shoulders while you healed? How often has he led you to those peaceful streams?
And still I think I know better. Still I would rather go where I want to go and do what I want to do and blame others for it in the meantime.
Sometimes I lead others astray. I think of my children and how they watch me and then imitate me and then get punished for it. My sin doesn’t only effect me. It hurts others. You’d think I would learn my lesson, but I don’t.
Thankfully my Shepherd is the Great Shepherd. He is long suffering and His lovingkindness endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting…Who remembered us in our low estate, for His lovingkindness is everlasting, and has rescued us from our adversaries, for His lovingkindness is everlasting… psalm 136