February 7, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Pledge of Safety”

Genesis 43:8-9

 And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. 9 I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.”

When I read this passage, what comes to mind is Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings. In the Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn promised to protect Frodo no matter the cost. He would stand by his side and ensure that no danger would come upon him. Similarly, in the Two Towers, Aragorn made it his mission to find Merry and Pippen, and to ensure that no harm came upon them by the hands of the Uruk-hai. Parents often do something similar: they tell their children to trust them, that they will guarantee their safety, as they ride a bike for the first time, or do something else that could be scary for the child.

In this passage, Judah is the one guaranteeing the safety of Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son. He tells Jacob to not worry, to trust that he could ensure the protection of Benjamin. As we may know already, Jesus was a direct descendant from Judah. Just as Judah was pledging to ensure the safety of Benjamin, Jesus pledged His life to protect us from sin and death. Judah says that if any harm came upon Benjamin, he would “bear the blame forever.” Jesus actually did bear the blame, though it wasn’t His blame. He bore our blame so that we may become blameless.

Jesus is greater than Aragorn, He is greater than Judah. There is no emptiness to the pledge He makes to us. Our safety is guaranteed in Him—not necessarily physical safety, but our eternal safety. Jesus, the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His own that we may eternally be His. Today, let’s remember our Savior, the One who pledged His life for us, the One in whose love we will always be.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being the Good Shepherd who will never abandon us. I know at many times I feel like I’m on my own, that I need to fight for my own safety, but forgive me for forgetting that You are always with me and will never let go. Thank You that I am eternally secure in You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 27


Lunch Break Study 

Read John 10:11-18: 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean that Jesus, who is speaking in this passage, is the Good Shepherd?
  2. Describe the intimacy between the Good Shepherd and His sheep.
  3. Why does Jesus lay His life down for His sheep?

Notes

  1. This passage tells us that Jesus as the Good Shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep.” Other people are just like hired hands, they will not actually protect us from real danger. Jesus the Good Shepherd is the only one who can actually protect us and ensure our eternal safety. Take some time to think over your own life. What are the “hired hands” in your life that you are putting your trust in over Jesus?
  2. The Good Shepherd knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. And this relationship echoes the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Further, Jesus’ sheep know His voice. This is such a beautiful picture of our intimacy with Him! We know His voice; we can hear Him calling us.
  3. Jesus lays His life down for us of His own accord. Jesus chose to lay Himself down because of His love for us, His sheep. May we remember this great love He has for us. For some of us, we may think, “Yeah, yeah, I know this already.” But do our lives reflect this trust we have in Jesus’ love? Do we feel absolutely secure in Him? Challenge yourself to trust in Him more and more!

Evening Reflection

This afternoon we read that Jesus’ sheep can hear His voice. Take some time tonight to listen for the voice of Jesus. He is speaking His love over us – may you hear Him tonight and know this intimacy that is possible in Him!

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