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When I was a child, shopping was not one of my most favoritist things to do. [Actually, it still isn’t — unless it’s a bookstore.] So I had a tendency to kind of wander away on my own, in search of a good book or another pack of baseball cards. But when it came time to leave, Mom was faced with the task of finding my brother and me. What to do? Why whistle of course.

Now Mom did not have one of these ear-splitting, shrill whistles (and even if she had, she would never have used it in a store). Frankly, to most people, the whistle was probably not noticeable. But to those whose ears had been trained over many years, it was distinct and clear and able to be heard from long distances. It was one of the ways she could call us and watch over us.

It is the nature of a (good) parent to lovingly care for and watch over his/her children. It is similarly the nature of our loving God to watch over His flock of sheep by calling them to Himself.

Such a picture is presented in Ezekiel. In Israel, a number of false shepherds rose up to confuse and mislead God’s chosen people. But God’s promise to Israel was that He would care for His own by calling them home.

“For thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.’” (Ezekiel 34:11; NASB)

And Christ does the same for the flock that He has been given (you might check out John 10:7ff).

God uses many things to accomplish this call: the Holy Spirit, our conscience, His Word, and our church family. But what is also significant to note is the result of His call.

God’s call brings restoration and healing. God not only seeks His sheep and brings them back into the fold, but He brings them back in to heal and restore them (Ez. 34:10, 12ff; Jn. 10:27ff). God’s intent is to have every believer reflect His glory and to be like Him (1 Jn. 3:4). To produce that transformation means that God will heal us from the wounds of sin, failure, and desertion.

God’s call is to obedience. Obedience to the Great Shepherd is what prevents us from wandering again from His fold.

God’s call is to fellowship. Man was created for fellowship with God — to be with Him. One day those who trust in Christ will be with Him eternally. But between those two events, sin intruded. So God sent Christ as “fellowship” — to be “God with us.” And God’s loving call is for us to come to Christ. He has afforded us the opportunity to be with Him even now and even though we have not yet been fully redeemed!

Have you wandered from the protection of His gracious arms? He’s calling you home with the offer of protection and healing for your soul!

MEDITATION: God is not only the Creator of life, but the seeker and restorer of souls.