As a child I took a certain delight in wandering away from my mom, especially when she was busy shopping and wasn’t watching me. I would keep her in sight as I slowly made my way further and further from her, waiting to see when she would realize that I was not in sight.
My oldest son also liked to wander (I lost him once on a crowded beach, and another time, he rode away on his tricycle; we actually called the police that time, only to have him come riding back from his friend’s house in a leisurely manner!). I think it was payback for all of the times that I caused my mom to panic!
Kids wander. Sheep wander. You and I wander, even as adults. Whether we are distracted by something interesting that pulls us further and further from where we are supposed to be, losing track of time until hours later (watching TV and playing online games does this for me!) or making conscious decisions to step away gradually from God, we are like kids and sheep.
The Hebrew word for “wander” is shaga and primarily indicates a sin that is committed inadvertently, according to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. It describes the way that sheep stray: “They simply nibble their way to lostness.”.
How to prevent wandering? The writer of this psalm says, “With all my heart I have sought you,” so I think it takes intentionality and focus. Sheep who keep their eyes on the Shepherd (kids who keep their eyes on their mother) do not wander very far at any time. Reading these daily devotional passages is one way to keep your eyes on the Shepherd, letting God’s Word keep you close to him. Also, I am happy to say that Jesus keeps his eyes on you, no matter how far you roam; he is only a prayer away!!
Jesus, you are my good shepherd. Thank you for watching over me! Please help me not to wander away from you. I want to stay close to your side today!
Throughout the Day: Ask yourself, what causes me to wander away from God? Do I need to spend less time doing something that distracts me from keeping my eyes on God?
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