You're in good (bad) company
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. | Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)
Singing about relationships, Fleetwood Mac told audiences they could “go their own way.“ In the context of all of humanity, the prophet Isaiah shared a devastating insight – not only could we go our own way, but that in fact we have gone our own way. Strayed. Deviated. Left the path.
Isaiah’s declaration that “all of us“ have strayed away is both poignant and strangely encouraging. It’s encouraging because, let’s be honest, none of us like the idea of getting it wrong, let alone when we are the only ones to have done so. The fact that other people also get things wrong makes us feel perversely better about ourselves and our situation; at least we’re not in this mess alone! The tragic reality of Isaiah‘s words, however, is that there is not one person born of human descent who could put their hand up and say that they have followed God’s path perfectly, obeyed him consistently or loved him unfalteringly.
Elsewhere the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans quotes Psalm 14, reminding us that “There is no one righteous, not even one…” He goes on to make his point even more explicit: “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Ouch.
Were this the end of the story, it would be true but tragic. The story, though, doesn’t end there. Isaiah’s universal observation of the sheep-like fully of all mankind is followed immediately by a reminder of the outrageous grace and extravagant mercy of God. Undeserving of forgiveness though we were, yet…
This verse is not hopeless, not without light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to God’s merciful provision. Despite our waywardness, despite our wanderings, God made provision for us to be brought back into relationship with Him.
Were we once hurtling headlong down our self-determined path to a desperate end? Absolutely.
But God made provision for our sinful wandering and in Christ, rescued us.
Does that mean that we don’t daily wander? No, but God is as relentless today in his pursuit of his children as ever he has been.
Take a moment to consider the reality that no matter how far you may have wandered, how many times you may have wandered, God is still chasing down those who have gone astray. Make today the day when you stop running down the wrong path and allow the good Shepherd to find you, to heal you and to restore you.