Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 13th

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While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night. Isaiah 40:11 “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

Luke 2:8-18 “And there was 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manager. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” Jesus had been born, but the only people who knew were His parents and the farm animals. The king had come, and no one had been ready to receive Him. It certainly seems He should have some sort of welcoming party, doesn’t it? God must have thought so, too, for He announced the birth of His son to shepherds who were watching nearby. God’s word tells us that the shepherds were terrified by the appearance of the angel and that the people of Bethlehem were amazed by the tales they later told. You can easily imagine why. Of all the things people expected that morning, shepherds singing praises and announcing the coming of the Messiah was probably not high on the list.

So, why did God choose the shepherds? Of all the people the angel could have appeared to that night, why them? First, it may simply have been the fact that they were awake. They were watching. They never dreamed that they would see, but they had kept their eyes open. More so, they were watching nearby. It’s easy to imagine that a celebration unseen by human eyes was happening all around them, angels celebrating the birth of Christ. For just a moment, God must have longed to see humans celebrate as well. So, the angels popped into the shepherds’ perception and invited them to praise.

What response could the shepherds have other than “Let’s go see this thing!” After seeing Him, they had no choice but to share Him. They spread the word as they went. It’s enough to make you wonder what happened to the sheep.

Another possible reason the angel appeared to the shepherds in the fields is because the Good Shepherd had just been born. Perhaps God saw them watching over their flocks and wanted them to see the one who watched over them. Maybe He wanted to show them just how far He would go to see that not one lamb was lost. John 10:14-18 “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” Praise Jesus that He sought us out when we were lost and laid down his life for us. Pray, asking Him to find your lost friends and family members today, and like the shepherds, spread the word on your way.

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