Pastor Mark speaks of the parable of the Lost Sheep, wherein the Good Shepherd leaves 99 sheep who are not lost to go search out the one who is lost and carries it home. Dr. Zacharias mentioned the prophet Hosea, who God called to marry a harlot named Gomer as a picture of God's relationship with Israel.
So, hello - I'm Gomer the sheep.
Sheep are dumb. They're weak, they're not very tough, and they often like to wander off and get lost. They're really too stupid to find their way back home, and when they're out away from the flock and the Shepherd, they tend to get into trouble and get beaten up, abused and into some really bad situations. Fortunately, if they belong to the Good Shepherd (in other words, if they really ARE a sheep and not a goat), He always searches them out, puts them on His shoulder and carries them back home. My Shepherd is always on the lookout for me, ready to rescue me from danger, clean me up and get me back with the flock so I can be safe, close to Him.
Gomer was a harlot. Hosea married her and loved her and had two children with her - and she left a happy, secure and loving home and went back to her prostitution. Pretty confusing, isn't it? Why would she leave a good situation to go back to the filth and degradation of whoring herself out? Certainly one could understand if Hosea threw up his hands and had nothing else to do with her - but he doesn't. In obedience to God's command and as a beautiful picture of God's love for His wayward and rebellious people, Hosea searches Gomer out and takes her back as his wife. He never stopped loving her, and he returns her to her home and cherishes her. Just like God keeps searching out His sinful people and keeps pouring out grace into our lives, even when we don't deserve it!
So, hello again: I'm a stupid, weak, wandering, rebellious and sinful sheep named Gomer.
But my Husband, my Savior, my Shepherd keeps searching high and low, chasing after me and carrying me back to Himself, showing me His eternal love and pouring out His infinite grace upon my life. He holds me tight to His heart, and that small reflection in His eye - the one you have to get very, very close to see - that's where I am. He has clothed me in the righteousness of His Son, not for anything that I've done, but just because for some unfathomable reason He has chosen to set His love upon me!
And so, I'm happy to be a stupid sheep named Gomer - and by the grace and guidance of my Beloved Shepherd and Husband, I will get better and walk ever more closely to Him in love and worship.
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom