The only possible downside I can see in exposing young children to classic hymns and great works of music is that sometimes they mange to misinterpret the lyrics and completely miss the point. Handel’s great rendering of Isaiah 53:6 in The Messiah landed on my youngest son’s ears as “Oh, we like sheep,” and his little spirit bore witness with that truth, so why question it? In fact, he did like sheep so much he went on to purchase, raise, train, and competitively show two sheep of his own when he was older. Unfortunately, he also learned a few things about sheep that rather diminished his enthusiasm for the species.
Sheep are stubborn.
Sheep are not easy to train.
Sheep have a tendency to go astray.
Apparently, Isaiah chose an apt metaphor for God’s people.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
All I have to do is look in the mirror to verify the truth of humanity’s sheepish nature.
In his kindness and because of his holy determination to spread redemption like a warm cloak over this fallen world, God laid the consequences of our waywardness on Jesus who became the sacrificial lamb, silent and slaughtered, shouldering the load of my willful disobedience. His death absorbed the wrath of God so we can stand before him, clothed in a righteousness that is not our own.
If your story includes a conscious acceptance of the forgiveness and welcome of God, you are in an amazing position to celebrate during this season of Lent. For you, Lent is a remembering of release and a rejoicing that your guilt and separation from God are in the past. Resurrection is ahead, and Easter will be the joyful commemoration of your freedom and new life in Christ. You are in the process of learning that there is, indeed, an upside to being a sheep–when there’s a Good Shepherd nearby!
If you are still carrying the load by yourself, open your Bible to Isaiah 53 and read more about the plan God announced 700 years before its completion. Then turn to the New Testament and be amazed at Christ’s perfect fulfillment of all God promised. I’d love to have a conversation with you about God’s willingness to become a sheep so that, ultimately, he could become your Shepherd.
Grace and Peace to You,
Subscribe to Living Our Days to get regular content like these Lenten devotionals delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page. You can also find seasonal reflections on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.