After my last post on Shepherds, I couldn’t help but take interest in an Isaiah chapter written to the scattered sheep. This post is about the prophesies of Isaiah to them.
Sheep are humble, followers of Jesus Christ. Many of the “sheep” are “lost.” Isaiah defines being lost: “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?” (Isa 50:10)
Most people assume that unbelievers are lost. In the Old Testament, “Gentiles,” were any of a whole host of people who didn’t believe in God. These days, even believers are lost. Isaiah starts out the chapter, “Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people…” (Isa 49/1 Ne 21)
So the sheep are lost. But, believing in Christ, they know that He will find them and lead them to safety. But what about their children? In this chapter, the sheep are not worried about themselves; they are worried about their children. “Then shalt thou say in thine heart: Who has begotten me these…I have lost my children…who hath brought up these?” Mothers of wayward children often wonder how it happened that they “lost” their children.
It’s not uncommon today to have families where children were raised to believe in Christ and shown an example of the believer by their parents and neighbors only to grow up to be an unbeliever. The religious skepticism and moral relativism of our day has gone viral.
Isaiah saw all this and he saw something truly marvelous. He saw the Gentiles bringing the children of the believing sheep home. I see that as the equivalent of unbelievers rescuing unbelieving sheep for their believing parents. It says, “they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and they daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.” (Isa 49:22)
So either the Gentiles are accidentally saving the sheep or God has recruited them to help Him and they know exactly what they are doing. In the last chapter of Isaiah, he writes, “I shall set a sign among them…and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.” Obviously something glorious is happening among the Gentiles.
In Nephi’s book he comments on these prophecies. He says that “the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles.” (1Ne 22:7) He notes that they will live in “a land of liberty…and there shall be no kings.” (2 Ne 10:11) A free nation in and of itself is a miraculous thing. Very few nations enjoy freedom. Then Nephi says that the Lord will “soften the hearts of the Gentiles…and number [them] among the house of Israel.” (2 Ne 10:18) That God would count any Gentiles in with the House of Israel is astonishing. This makes me think that the Gentiles have been recruited and know what they are doing when they go out to rescue sheep.
|"Landscape with Sheep" by Robert Ducanson - Creative Commons|
Isaiah says that the heavens will sing the praises of the “beautiful…feet of him that bringeth good tidings.” (Isa 52:7) Allow me to guess what the good tidings are: that one of the sheep that was lost has been found. These Gentiles, living in freedom, are living like kings and queens. “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers…” speaks of the sacrifice of these people for the sheep.
Isaiah prophesied that God, “will save thy children” in a “marvelous” way. I see great comfort in these words for all the mothers and fathers who pray for their wayward children. I see salvation coming from the most unlikely of nations — a Gentile one. I see these sheep “taken from the mighty…the prey of the terrible — delivered.” (Isa 49:24-25) No one will be more astonished than the sheep themselves who know that destruction was imminent. They will “know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.” (1 Ne 22:12) Being “lost” has it’s benefits — you know when you have been rescued.
This video is about a rescue of an ewe and her two lambs
Image credit: Flickr/Phillip Capper