A Lost Sheep

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.” Psalm 119:176

Those that love the Lord may wander. Those that know the Lord get lost. Even those with the highest degree of sincere interest in the Word of God may find themselves down roads they should not be traveling. The Psalmist had, more than most, a careful regard for the commandments of the Lord. He knew where blessing resided: “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies (Ps 119:2).” He was committed to obedience, “I will keep your statutes (vs. 8).” He earnestly prayed for strength to stay on the right path, “Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments (vs. 10).” He rejoiced in the company of the Scriptures, “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors (vs. 24).”

On and on he goes for 176 beautiful verses of reverence, trust, affection, earnestness, pleading for and hiding of the Word of the Living God in his heart. We must not doubt the sincerity of the Psalmist here. He was no double minded man. He had a strong love for the Bible. But, as Stephen Charnock wrote, “the strongest man is only compacted dust.” And the Psalmist must confess, in the very last verse, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep.”

Christian – there is wonderful comfort here! Even strong faith has weak moments in this life. Here, in the very last line of a 176 verse song about the excellency of the Scriptures, we find the inspired poet is sensitive to his own tendency to wander. Just like you and I, he went astray. Well said that hymnist, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” It is not just unbelievers who have gone astray. We daily need a seeking Savior! Jesus knows this! “He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray…” (Heb 5:2). Oh praise the Lord! We may get lost, but our Shepherd will not lose us! “Those whom You gave Me, I have kept (John 17:12),” says our Jesus. If you have trusted in the Lord, that means you.

We may fall in this life. Charles Simeon writes “However advanced a man may be in piety or age, he is still in danger of falling.” The Psalmist fell. “I have gone astray like a lost sheep.” But God’s Word never fails! Thus the Psalmist ends with “I do not forget Your commandments.” Let not our failings cast any shadow of doubt on the faithfulness of His Word. His Word is true, even when we at times are false. His Word is sure, even when we are lost. His Word is the right path, though like a lost sheep we sometimes go astray. His Word is light, and we are lost without it. Get back on track by getting back in the Word! His promises have never failed.

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