A talk presented by Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai at St. Augustine Chaplaincy, Auchi (17/11/2021)  


Numbers 31:49; John 10:28

This topic draws our minds to two scriptural passages. They are: Numbers 31:49 and John 10:28. The first one says “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command and not one of us is missing.” While the second says “No one will snatch them out of my hand…” ‘To be missing’ means not present or included when expected or supposed to be. We shall look at this topic from five different dimensions: The physical dimension; the spiritual dimension; the doctrinal dimension; intellectual dimension and moral dimension. 

Physical Dimension: Our point of departure here is the book of Number 31:49; it states that “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one of us is missing.” You know the Book of Numbers is dealing with numbers and arithmetic. So upon calculation, the Israelite officially counted and noticed that after the war with the Midianites none of them were missing. 12 thousand men went on battle 12 thousand came back. (prayer for family; prayer for children; prayer for students; prayer to end well- Judges 8)

On the other hand, Jesus is our Father, he is the good shepherd who cares for his sheep. He says “No one will snatch them out of my hand.” A good shepherd cares for his sheep and protects them from snatchers and wolves. Who is he that snatches? The bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”. The devil and his agents are the snatchers. In John 10:10 “…he comes to steal, to kill and to destroy.” Beloved, no one can snatch us. In Isaiah 31:5 we are told that “like birds hovering overheads so the Lord will protect Jerusalem he will protect and deliver it, he will spare and rescue it.” This is our confidence! We have a God that will never fail us! Other shepherds may fail; but the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. If we remain under his covering no one shall be missing.

Spiritual Dimension: Many people are spiritually lost. “Amazing Grace” says, “ Amazing grace/ How sweet the sound/ That saved a wretch like me/ I once was lost, but now I’m found/ Was blind, but now I see.” We are used to this hymn but not so conscious of the words. The term lost is used in the Bible and in Christian parlance to depict persons who have not yet found eternal life in Christ. In Luke 19:10 Jesus says; “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”. Those who are spiritually lost are separated from God and unable to find their way back to Him. Human beings are spiritually lost because we have wandered away from God and we do not know how to find Him again.

Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” So, oftentimes we are like sheep who just follow leaders irrespective of where the leaders are going. We are lost because we follow anyhow; we wallow because we don’t follow with reasoning and wisdom.  Sheep lack reasoning and wisdom; so they are easily misled.

Again, many people are spiritually lost because like a sheep they have wander away from the flock and the true shepherd. Sheep need a shepherd to survive. Christians need their spiritual fathers and directors to survive spiritually. Just as a shepherd protects the sheep from attacks, guides them to greener pasture and keeps watch so that none are lost. So also a spiritual father ensures the good and safety of his flock. But instead of us to remain under their watch and care we wander away and get attacked in the process. Do not expose yourselves to danger; when you wander away you become easy targets. If the Lord has assured us of safety then we should not endanger ourselves. We should not be like the lost sheep that strayed from the flock (Luke 15:3–7).Oftentimes we see Catholics who stray away. Beloved in Christ, do not expose yourself to places, churches and temples where you will be snatched completely. (Prayer: As you remain in God; no one will snatch you; no one will snatch any member of your family; even the traps they set against to snatch shall scatter; as in Ps. 124:7 you shall escape the snares of the enemy)

Doctrinal Dimension: Some are doctrinally lost; the goal of Christianity is that we may seek God and find him. In doing this we have the Bible and the teaching authority of the Church as our rule and guide. It’s so sad that in the face of doctrines many of us are lost; we do not study the Bible; we do not listen keenly to the right interpretation of scripture in catechesis and homilies rather we give in to loose and street interpretations.

There are Christians who cannot stand for what they believe; they don’t even practice their faith with convictions; they do things to fulfill righteousness. We must learn to study the Bible if we must overcome the lust of this generation; we must seek to understand what the Church says about her teachings and not our individual bias and poor interpretation. Many Christians have thrown away basic practice such as Baptism and in fact the sacraments in general. Others contend with Marian teaching; worship; and manifestation of spiritual gifts. The bible strongly warns against false doctrines because with them, evil prevails in white clothing. Let us take biblical passages in this regard:

2 Timothy 4:3-4 

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

1 Timothy 6:3-5

Whoever teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching of our religion  is swollen with pride and knows nothing. He has an unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words, and this brings on jealousy, disputes, insults, evil suspicionsand constant arguments from people whose minds do not function and who no longer have the truth. They think that religion is a way to become rich.

Hebrews 13:9

Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

Galatians 1:6-10 

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

1 John 4:1 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Beloved, with these biblical teaching we must be careful less we fall.

Intellectual Dimension: One basic reason we are intellectually lost is lack of study. We believe anything because we are too lazy to study and confirm. We believe in media lines as if they are eternal truth. Christians who want to succeed in this generation must study. We must keep learning; for us to keep earning spiritually, and materially. The bible encourages us to study; 2Tim.2:15 says study to show yourself approved; Prov 2:2 says “making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding” Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Prov.19:2 says it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,… (For more you can confirm Dan.11:32; Ps.119:130; Is.1:3;)

Moral Dimension: Moral lust is a function of what John writes in his first letter,1John2:16. He speaks of lust in threefold: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The three genitives which follow are subjective, not objective. The lust of the flesh is not merely the lust after the flesh, but all lust that has its seat in the flesh (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 2:3). The lust of the eyes is that lust that has its origin in sight – curiosity, covetousness, etc. (cf. “the lusts of their hearts,” “the lusts of your body,” Romans 1:24; Romans 6:12). In the world of St. John’s day the impure and brutal spectacles of the theatre and the arena would supply abundant illustrations of these. The vain-glory of life, or arrogance of living, is ostentation exhibited in the manner of living; the empty pride and pretentiousness of fashion and display. It includes the desire to gain credit which does not belong to us, and outshine our neighbours. It also refers to whatever there is that tends to promote pride, or that is an index of pride, such as the ostentatious display of dress, equipage, furniture, etc.

These are the causes of moral loss and lust. Christians therefore, must walk in the path of self-control and prudence.


Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.

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