Harassed and Helpless

Read: Micah 5:1-4; Matthew 9:35-38

He shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD. (Micah 5:4)

As a 12-year-old I made my first solo train trip. I was traveling home from a visit with friends. I arrived at the train station—a maze of levels, corridors and platforms. I had my ticket and knew my train number. But I didn’t know the way to my platform and I panicked. A compassionate stranger assessed my helpless situation and led me where I needed to go.

During Micah’s ministry, God’s people were harassed and helpless. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah were immersed in idolatry and injustice. The Assyrian Empire had conquered Israel and besieged Judah. This political crisis reflected a spiritual crisis: God’s people forsook his guidance and lost his peace. These dire circumstances were self-imposed. Yet Micah issued words of hope: God would rescue his people by sending a shepherd to lead his people where they needed to go.

Centuries later, Jesus—the Shepherd born in Bethlehem—looked upon his lost people. Instead of condemnation, Jesus was filled with compassion. He saw people that were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” When we are harassed and helpless, we expect condemnation. After all, many of our troubles are self-imposed. We fail to make the right choices. We fail to follow God’s way, choosing ours instead. But in the person of Jesus Christ, God responds to us with compassion, and leads us back into his peace. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask God for his peace, especially when you feel “harassed and helpless.”

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon has served various Christian Reformed congregations since 2003. He currently serves as pastor at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.