Thursday, February 01, 2018

Reflection on Our Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  We hear those words from the 23rd Psalm typically at funerals.  What many of us may not realize is that this is not a funeral Psalm.  It is not about the Lord being our shepherd after we die, but when we are in danger.  The comfort of the Psalmist comes from the nearness of God.  Left to himself, he would be pursued by his enemies who would overtake him.  Instead, the Psalmist declares that it is goodness and mercy that follows him all the days of his life, not his enemies.  The shepherd watches over his sheep, he protects them, examines them, binds up wounds, leads them to clean water and good pastures where there is plenty of food.  If a sheep wanders away from the fold, he is in trouble even if there are no predators.  What happens when there is no shepherd to shear his wool?  I read about a lot sheep that would have died if he had not been found.  His wool was so thick, he got an infection from it, especially in the areas where he had to try and relieve himself.  Jesus said in John 10 that he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  He has come to give us abundant life.  In Matthew 18, he points out how the shepherd will leave the 99 sheep and go out in search of one lost sheep, and when he finds it, he rejoices and brings the lost sheep back home.  I can imagine the lost sheep pictured in the photo was so glad to have been found, and especially when all of that matted wool was sheared off so he could be healthy again.  If this sheep had remained lost, he would have died.  Thank God that Jesus the good shepherd came after us and began the process of making our hearts healthy and whole again.  He laid down his life for us, and rose from the grave, and because of this, he has the power to save us when we are lost. 

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