(Friends, this is Part 4 of a seven part series devoted to the Lord's entrance into the world. Today's message involves the shepherds who experienced God's glory in a profound way upon the advent of the Savior, but then likely returned to life as it had always been. Thanks, Glen)
"Back To Their Fields"
How appropriate that God graced shepherds with the angelic announcement that heralded the birth of the Lamb of God into the world.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:8-11).
Doubtless before and after the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, these men witnessed the delivery of lambs. Those born afterwards surely reminded the shepherds of that night when Heaven graced their eyes, ears, and hearts with a visitation that resulted in their journey to Bethlehem. We can surmise that the shepherds were changed forever, although they likely returned from Bethlehem back to their fields, never again to experience a night like that holy night. They were real men who lived real lives, and the resumption of their shepherdly duties would likely have seemed frustratingly ordinary at times as they cared for their sheep and lambs. They probably never heard another angelic voice, nor witnessed God's glory shining upon them, and they may never have seen the Baby again. They likely just lived, but again, we can be sure they were never the same.
Relationship with God involves moments of grace administered in extraordinary ways, as defined in personal terms to each of our hearts. Our Heavenly Father knows when we need Heaven to open a bit and shine particularly vivid and beautiful rays of His light upon us. We rejoice in these times and benefit by their encouragement. Like shepherds of old, however, we must return to abide in our fields once again. Regardless of how faithfully we walk with our Lord, most of life involves that which appears common and ordinary. Like the Lord Jesus, who lived most of His life in quiet obscurity, we tend our sheep in fields where no angelic voices sound, no bright star illuminates, and the glory of God must be seen by faith rather than sight. This is precisely as it should and must be in a life wherein God's focus primarily involves the heart rather than the eyes. As the writer of Hebrews described Moses, who "endured as seeing Him who is invisible," our Heavenly Father graces most of our lives with the opportunity to know Him apart from sight, sound, and overtly spiritual displays (Hebrews 11:27). Memories of a star and glory bless and help us. However, God's unseen presence in the present provides opportunity and enabling to most know Him in the common and ordinary venues where He most reveals His Son. The shepherds who likely returned to abide in their fields after visiting Bethlehem speak to us of such grace sometimes openly known, but most often experienced in that which seems common and ordinary.
"We walk by faith, not by sight."
(II Corinthians 5:7)
Weekly Memory Verse
And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.