“Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones.” (Jeremiah 50.17)
We love passages like John 10 where Jesus claims the title of “Good Shepherd”. Where He says things like “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow me”. The imagery is so comforting. A Savior holding us in His arms when we hurt, leading us over a gentle rise to reveal lush, green pastures that is transected by a gently flowing crystal-clear stream… The image feeling is so perfect.
Gone from the image are all thoughts about a rod and a staff; the tools of a shepherd. Why would Jesus need those- we follow Him when we hear His voice, remember? While this imagery is comforting and serene, we cannot lose sight of the facts. “…the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5.8b).
In addition to our adversary being pictured as a “roaring lion”, we read of God’s chosen people being “hunted sheep driven away by lions” and we must never forget that living correctly is a daily struggle.
YOU ARE BEING HUNTED! Do not be silly or naïve. As a lamb you are defenseless. You may rebut- “we have the armor of God!” to which I would point out: “yes, the armor of God”. We get it from Him. We stand in the strength of His great might. You cannot win without Him. “…God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability…” (from 1 Corinthians 10.13). This passage reminds us that we can be tempted far beyond what we can withstand if we do not look to God to control the temptation.
Here is another image for you: Start with that serene meadow and Gentle Shepherd and put a stick in His hand. A pole longer than a broom handle and thicker that a ball bat, that He has over His shoulder like a golf club. In front of Him snarls that lion whose teeth are soon to be busted. That is also your Jesus; defender of His people.
Every day something will try you, pull at you, test you. Stand behind your Savior and let Him defend you. Do not make the mistake of believing you can hand everything on your own. You are being hunted. Do not forget who is protecting your life.