“As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place” (Proverbs 27:8).
The word “wander” in Hebrew means to ‘stray away’ and ‘flee’. It speaks proverbially about those who do not abide in the “place” that God has ordained for them. While it is true that the Scriptures mention the fact that we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13, 1 Peter 2:11), as Christians we have our place within the Kingdom of God, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). In other words, in keeping with our text, we have found our nesting place, “Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God” (Psalm 84:3).
There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
Wander no more
Before we became Christians we wandered through life aimlessly. The Bible says that we “were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). We rebelled against the truth whenever anyone told us about the way of salvation. We were going our own way to damnation. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Like the Israelites we wandered through the wilderness when we ought to have been going to the Promised Land.
Why is it that some Christians are still wandering? The only reason why they have no purpose or direction in life is because they refuse to follow Christ and obey His word. The end result will be eternal loss if they do not get back to their “place” in the Lord. Solomon clearly states that those who refuse to cease from wandering are headed for doom. “The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead” (Proverbs 21:16). The is no need for any believer to wander away from the Lord, but whatever happens to them in this life or the next is purely of their own making. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3). Just as a wandering bird can fall prey to an hungry cat, so we too can be devoured by a roaring lion if we do not abide in the Lord. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Who can help those who desert the faith? Jeremiah 49:5 says that “none none shall gather up him that wandereth”.
Wonder no more
Wandering is simply backsliding, but whatever word we use, it just is not worth it! The parable of the Prodigal Son reveals the sorry state believers can get themselves into when they wander away from the Lord. The son in the story would have perished if he had not come to his senses and realised that the true blessings were found in the place prepared for him by his father. “He came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” (Luke 15:17). He repented for his waywardness, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (Luke 15:21) and was restored to his place by his father, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:22-24).
We do not have to wonder if God will receive a wandering soul back into the fold, for He actively searches for His wandering sheep anyway. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:11-14).
Many have left the church over the years because they have rebelled against what God wanted to do with them. It was easier to lash out at their fellow believers rather than admit they simply needed to obey the Lord and His word. Sadly almost all of these people have no “nest” and have become bitter.
Maybe we have been guilty of wandering away from the Lord by not staying in the place He has put us in. It used to be said that people “should know their place”, but while thankfully such class snobbery has largely been dismantled, as Christians it is important that we know our place and that it is firmly in the Lord. Let us stay where God wants us to be and find the blessings He has prepared for us.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.