The Lord deserves praise! Day after day He carries our burden, the God who delivers us. (Selah) Our God is a God who delivers; the Lord, the sovereign Lord, can rescue from death. Psalm 68:19-20
Chris, the Australian Merino sheep, had a problem.
That's a shame because Merino sheep in Australia usually don't have problems. That's because the people who own them make sure they're fed and protected and, once a year or so, sheer the sheep of its wool. It's a good arrangement and everybody wins.
But Chris had a problem. Early on in his life Chris had wandered away from the farm which owned him. Yes, Chris wandered until he found himself many miles away from home or anywhere else he might want to hang his hat. Chris might easily have spent the rest of his life in this idyllic, pastoral setting where he could eat and sleep and grow some wool.
But there was a problem in paradise, and Chris was a burdened sheep.
The first year of his life Chris had grown some wool, and nobody took it from him. The same thing happened in years two through six. Eventually, Chris, with his mountains of wool, was spotted and captured. The capture wasn't hard because Chris could hardly walk. The experts said, "If this wool doesn't come off, Chris will die before end of summer."
That's when they called on Ian Elkins: the one man whom the experts thought could help Chris. Elkins, the best sheep-shearer in Australia, can clip an average sheep in three minutes. He took hours setting Chris free from his record 93 pounds of wool.
That's the story of Chris, the burdened sheep. It is also our story, too. I say that because
* like Chris, we wandered from our Maker;
* like Chris, each day's sins increased the weight on our consciences and hearts;
* like Chris, we were helpless to save ourselves and,
* like Chris, we were doomed to die.
Things would have stayed that way if it had not been for the ministrations of the Holy Spirit. Knowing our sorry situation and tragic destiny He introduced us to Jesus Christ, the one Person who could save us.
True Man and True God, Jesus gave His life in saving ours. From birth to death, from cradle to cross to empty sepulcher, Jesus offered Himself as our Substitute. His wonderful resurrection is proof to all that His work will save all who are placed into His nail-pierced hands.
Indeed, Jesus' hands have shorn the sins from the souls of numerous murderers, perverts, thieves, liars and common sinners. As the psalmist says -- He carries our burdens and delivers us. He is the sovereign Lord who has rescued us and is deserving of praise.
It is praise that those who have been separated from their sins are glad to give.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we all, like sheep, have gone astray. May we give thanks for the Holy Spirit who has brought us to the Savior who has separated our souls from our sins and given us forgiveness. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries