Micah 7:14
Shepherd with Your staff Your people, the flock of Your inheritance. They live alone in a woodland, surrounded by pastures. Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.
Sermons
A PrayerHomilistMicah 7:14
A PrayerD. Thomas Micah 7:14
Christ's Pastoral CareMicah 7:14


Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. Here is a prayer addressed by the prophet to Almighty God. It is brief, but beautiful, beautiful in spirit and style. It has a prophetic aspect. This prayer recognizes three things.

I. AN INTERESTING RELATION BETWEEN GOD AND HIS PEOPLE, FLOCK AND SHEPHERD. The Jews, here as elsewhere, are metaphorically referred to as a flock, and Jehovah as their Shepherd (Psalm 80:1; Psalm 95:7, etc.). "The Lord is my Shepherd;" "I am the good Shepherd." What a Shepherd is he!

1. He is the absolute Owner of the flock. "My sheep are mine, and I know them." "All souls are mine." How incalculably valuable is one soul! - a free, ever active, influential, undying spirit! How rich is this Shepherd, to own untold millions of such!

2. He has a perfect knowledge of the flock. He knows what they are, what they have been, what they will be through all the future. "I know my sheep," etc. (John 10.).

3. He has an infinite love for the flock. The good Shepherd hath laid down his life for them

4. He has abundant supplies for the flock. Though their wants are varied, numerous, urgent, ever-recurring, he is able to meet them all. "I give unto my sheep eternal life, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands;" "He is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20); "Feed thy people with thy rod," or staff. It recognizes -

II. THE TRYING CONDITION IN WHICH GOD'S PEOPLE ARE SOMETIMES FOUND. "Which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel." The primary reference is to their captivity in Babylon. (For another view, see Exposition.) They were as sheep in the forest or wood; in danger of being lost in the thickets or being devoured by beasts of prey. Human souls in this world are in a moral wilderness; beset with perils on every hand. "They are scattered on the mountains as sheep having no shepherd." Two facts render this condition peculiarly distressing.

1. It is caused by self. Souls have not been driven away into moral captivity. "All we like sheep have gone astray."

2. It is undeliverable by self. No soul ever found its way back to God by its own unaided efforts; hence Christ came to "seek and to save the lost."

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF RESTORATION TO FORMER ENJOYMENTS. "Lot; them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old." The regions of Bashan and Gilead, on the east of the Jordan, were celebrated for their rich pasturage, and on this account were chosen by the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh (Numbers 12.; Deuteronomy 3:17). Morally, the great need of man is the restoration of normal rights, normal virtues, normal enjoyments.

"Good Shepherd, hasten thou that glorious day,
When we shall all
In the one fold abide with thee for aye!" D.T.







Feed Thy people with Thy rod, the flock of Thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old
The prophet gives an account of the state of the professing, visible Church, which he looks upon to be like unto a field or vineyard after the harvest is past and the vintage over. God never leaves a professing Church to be a wilderness, unless upon the utmost apostasy; but He many times leaves them to be as a field after harvest, or a vineyard after the vintage. He takes down the hedge, He suffers the wild beasts to come in, lets persons spoil at their pleasure; but there will come a time of culture again, when He will have fruit brought forth to His praise. The prophet says that those who were good were very few; and that those who were evil were very bad. When this is the condition, inevitable destruction lies at the door of that place or nation. If either of these be otherwise, there is yet hope. This being the state and condition of the people of the land, the prophet makes in the name of the Church a threefold application of himself —

1. To God. "I will look unto the Lord."

2. To her enemies. Who is this enemy? Wherein did she show her enmity?

3. To himself. "I will bear the indignation," etc.Here is a very becoming frame under the present state of affliction. In this state and condition, the prophet puts up this request, "Feed Thy people with Thy rod." In these words we have —

I. WHAT IS PRAYED FOR. The rod is the sign of the shepherd. Three things in the feeding of God's people —

1. That God would supply their spiritual and temporal wants.

2. That God, in that state which is coming upon them, would give them pledges, singular pledges of His own tenderness and love.

3. By "feeding" is intended rule, protection, deliverance. The shepherd has to preserve his flock from all evil.

II. THE ARGUMENTS OF FAITH TO BE PLEADED IN THIS CASE.

1. They were the people of God —

(1)Upon election.

(2)By purchase and acquisition.

(3)By covenant.

2. They were "the flock of Thine heritage." They are a "flock." And as such they are helpless, harmless, useful — useful, because a secret blessing goes with them; by reason of their good example; and by reason of their industry. They are "the flock of God's heritage." As such, if God take not care of it, no one else will. It is the heritage of Him whom the whole world looks upon as their greatest enemy.

3. The third argument is taken from their state and condition. The first argument pleads God's glory, His love and faithfulness. The second pleads God's interest. The third pleads God's pity and compassion. They dwell "solitarily," that is disconsolately. "In a wood," that is, ins dark and entangled condition.

( J. Owen, D. D.)

Homilist.
This prayer recognises three things.

I. AN INTERESTING RELATION BETWEEN GOD AND HIS PEOPLE. Flock and Shepherd.

1. He is the absolute Owner of the flock. "All souls are Mine."

2. He has a perfect knowledge of the flock.

3. He has an infinite love for the flock.

4. He has abundant supplies for the flock.

II. THE TRYING CONDITION IN WHICH GOD'S PEOPLE ARE SOMETIMES FOUND. "Which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel." The primary reference is to their captivity in Babylon.

1. It is caused by self. Souls have not been driven away into moral captivity. "All we like sheep have gone astray."

2. It is undeliverable by self. No soul ever found its way back to God by its own unaided efforts; hence Christ came to "seek and to save the lost."

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF RESTORATION TO FORMER ENJOYMENTS. "Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old." The regions of Bashan and Gilead, on the east of the Jordan, were celebrated for their rich pasturage, and on this account were chosen by the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh (Numbers 12; Deuteronomy 3:17). Morally, the great need of man is the restoration of normal rights, normal virtues, normal enjoyments.

(Homilist.)

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