Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?
What a question this for ministers and for people! For ministers. Where are the few sheep whom He has put under our care? What have we done for them? And for the flock likewise, God's people and children. What a question for them! Where are you?
I. You are GOD'S FLOCK. "The people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand." He acknowledges you as His sheep, and like the Good Shepherd, He knows you every one. He looks at you as you are, and thinks of the difference between one and another.
II. His flock is "BEAUTIFUL."
1. For what He has made them. Look how beautiful He has made us all in body, mind, and soul.
2. Because of what they are capable of. Look at the wonderful things which man has been enabled to do, and then think what more God may intend him to do. Look at him sailing over the sea, and travelling over land by means of fire and water! And then think what may not man's mind and body be capable of doing. But look at man sanctified by the Holy Ghost, his soul filled with grace, and bringing forth fruits of righteousness. How beautiful is a Christian, when he is gentle, forgiving, loving, forgetting himself, and seeking to help others, bearing trials without murmurs, and rejoicing even in sorrow!
3. Because of what they are intended for. You, poor creatures that you are, disappointed and disappointing yourselves so constantly, promising yourselves so much and performing so little — God intends you to be lights in this world, to show the way to those around you, and to be His companions in heaven.
III. "WHERE ARE YOU?" "Where am I?"
1. We are here, whilst so many others have been called away.
2. Judge yourselves where you are in spiritual things.
(1) To this end review your opportunities, and see what they have done for you, where they have left you. They are like the wind or steam to a ship, like the carriage or train to the traveller; they are. intended to help you on your way, and you ought to find yourself nearer home since you have had the use of them.
(2) Judge yourselves about open, plain public sins. What have there been of these in the year? drunkenness, swearing, thieving, cheating, lying, uncleanness, wasting Sunday, slandering your neighbour. Have you done such things as these?
(3) Judge yourselves whether you are more in earnest about religion than you were. Are you ever anxious about yourself? Are you taking any pains?
(W. H. Ridley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?
WEB: Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north: where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?