What Breaks God’s Heart? (Sheep without a Shepherd)

untitledSeveral years ago my Pastor (then at Riverlakes Community Church) preached a series on “What Breaks God’s Heart”.  The title has always stuck out to me and I have often times meditated on what does break God’s heart.  The Bible is full of explicit references to the heart of God being deeply moved, even moved to tears over the heartache in this fallen world.  Over the next couple of weeks I want to think through and meditate on some of these passages that speak to the question of “What Breaks God’s Heart?”

 As I write this post I’ve just finished up watching my boys for the night while Amy was away with some friends.  I wrestled with Micah, kissed Cody’s head when he bonked it on the floor, made sure everyone ate, and tucked them both into bed.  The job of a parent never seems to be done and yet what about children who have no parents, or what about sheep who have no shepherd?

When I think about what are some of the things that break God’s heart, one of the items that always rise to the forefront of my mind is “sheep without a shepherd.”  I see these sheep all of the time in Junior High and High School.  I see these sheep in the 16 year old girl with the blank stare on her face and the unkempt hair, because she probably never had a mother to show her how to care for herself.  I see them in the face of the rebellious Sophomore who loves to mock everything I say, but when you look into his eyes you can see the absentee father who doesn’t give a rip about him.

Sheep without a shepherd aren’t limited to student ministries alone.  I find a steady flow of these sheep in my counseling office.  Sometimes these sheep look like a frazzled mother who’s down to her last nerve, because her husband has checked out and now she has to do the worrying for the both of them.  Sometimes these sheep look like they have it all together.  They may drive nice cars, have great jobs, and lots of money.  But they run from one fad to the next, or one therapist to the next in search of something that will finally quench their thirst (Jeremiah 2:9-13).

It seems that part of living in a fallen world is the need for shepherds.  Children need parents who can care for their needs, mothers need husbands who will love them as Christ loved the church, and everyone needs someone to help keep watch over their souls.  What breaks God’s heart is sheep who are harassed, helpless, and lost.

So, what should we do for these sheep?  As always, we need to look to Jesus for our example.  In the midst of an incredibly busy season of ministry, we find this verse: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).  Sheep without a Shepherd break God’s heart, but what rejoices God’s heart is when his people exercise compassion and care for these sheep, especially”the least of these.”  I’m sure there are a lot reasons for this, but I can’t think of any that are more powerful than the fact that God Himself is a Shepherd (Psalm 23).  Isaiah 40:11 describes what kind of a shepherd He is: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. “

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June 29 2009 04:00 am | What Breaks God's Heart

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