In Isolation Thoughts 2

Hymn: Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer

Bible Reading: Psalm 23

Lost without a Shepherd

Have you seen sheep that have escaped from their field? They are all over the road, in the verges, in gardens, they are anywhere they can find something to eat. Have you watched the Owen Family on Ch5 in ‘Our Yorkshire Farm?’ Their fields are the moors around their farmhouse, Ravenseat Farm in Swaledale, where they live with their nine children. The sheep roam the moors for most of the year and then must be rounded up for the winter in the fields closer to the farm. All year round, Amanda, Clive and any children who are around, need to venture out onto the moors to check the sheep are OK. Amanda is the Shepherdess, responsible for the sheep’s welfare. What would happen to the sheep if she decided it was too wet or cold to go out and stayed by the fire in the farmhouse? Many would not survive!

Aren’t we a bit like sheep? I know we do not have to be sheared each year, though we often need a haircut! We like to do things on impulse, we prefer to be free to do what we want, lockdown and all its restrictions has not been pleasant. The Bible says that we have a shepherd who is constantly concerned for us and our welfare. We read the most well-known passage this morning, Psalm 23, a multi-use Psalm, used at weddings, funerals, baptisms, christenings, religious occasions and so on. What does it say about ‘Our Shepherd?’

Identity of the Shepherd

Clearly it is the Lord, God the creator and saviour of the world.

Intention of the Shepherd

To provide for each one of us, we shall lack nothing, it says in v2, that doesn’t mean we get all we want, but all we need. How is this intention carried out? Having ensured our needs are met, He does four things:

  • Makes us lie down
  • Leads us
  • Refreshes us
  • Guides us

There are times when we need to rest, to lie down and He prepares the resting place, green pastures. The writer of this Psalm, King David, was a shepherd in Israel, he knew all there was to know about sheep. When he wanted the sheep to rest, he would seek out the soft lush grassy areas, away from the dry rocky parts of the hills around Bethlehem. They could rest in comfort and eat the grass. God wants us to rest with Him and eat with Him in the comfort He provides. Life is not all rest; we must move and so God leads us. Jewish/Eastern Shepherds are different to British Shepherds, they go in-front of the flock, not follow behind. The move means we get tired and so He refreshes us as and when we need it. It is also vital that we go in the right direction, so His guidance is on the right paths. Have you felt His intention in your life?

In the security of the Shepherd

Life, even with the Shepherd, is not always easy, there will be problems, disappointments, upsets and even tragedy. Here in this Psalm, we are told not to be afraid, or fearful of things and situations, however distressing or worrying. That is easier said than done. When it is said by God there is a total reassurance, as He says, He is with us. We are not alone, if only we would recognise His support and comfort. The Shepherd’s tools are there for us, the rod to defend us and drive away the attack and the staff to support and hold us. If we recognise that God is there, we are comforted. Notice that we must go through the valley, it is not avoided, it is overcome, and we come out the other side, with God in control. Trust is vital.

 

Invitation of the Shepherd

Here is an interesting picture, with enemies all around, we are invited to sit at the table God has prepared for us. All the comforts are provided, we are anointed with oil, having washed away the dirt of the day, so we are perfumed and sweet smelling in His presence. There is ample provision for us, an overflowing cup, this suggests a plentiful banquet. Everything is provided for our needs and pleasure as we sit with God. We are accepted by God into His company by our faith in Christ Jesus.

Inclusion with the Shepherd

This is not a one off, a flash in the pan event. We are assured that it is for our all life and for eternity. His goodness and mercy are with us all the time, all day and all night. These have been referred to as God’s ‘sheep dogs’, who will guide and protect us along life’s journey. Have you noticed them around you, felt their warm and gentle nudge in the right direction?

This all sounds good and almost too good to be true, but it is true. The reflection of this Psalm in the NT is when Jesus said, ‘I am the Good Shepherd.’ He went on to say that He lays down His life for the sheep, such was His devotion. The cross is our guarantee of The Shepherd.

Identity of our Shepherd- Jesus

Intention of our Shepherd- trust in Him

In His security- our lives in His hands

Invitation of our Shepherd- follow Him

Inclusion of our Shepherd- eternity with Him

Who is your Shepherd and where are you being lead?

Hymn: The Lord’s my Shepherd

Prayer


Page last updated: 1st May 2021 7:40 PM
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