Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 12, 2019
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (RSV)
I read a story about 1,500 sheep in Turkey who went over a cliff, simply because one sheep decided to jump and all the others, one at a time, decided to follow. Interestingly, only 400 of the sheep actually died, with the other 1,100 having their fall cushioned by the first 400! Crazy as this story may seem, it perfectly speaks to our need for a shepherd!
The Bible often uses sheep and shepherding imagery, with us as the sheep and the Lord as our Good Shepherd. Interestingly, the Bible never makes the point that we are stupid like sheep. You and I are made in the image of God and share in his very likeness, yet we are in desperate need of someone to lead us, and active and intentional leading is precisely what a faithful shepherd is called to do.
I admit that my severely limited experience with livestock distorts my understanding of the shepherd’s role. I think of shepherds as fairly passive people, taking a nap under a tree on a sleepy afternoon while the sheep graze idly in the field. If I’m honest, poems like Psalm 23 play into this vision, with its singsong poetry that calms and soothes the soul, causing me to miss the fundamentally active nature of that psalm: “he leads me beside still waters.”
A shepherd’s primary job is one of leading, guiding, and protecting those under their care. From the sheep’s perspective, this may often feel confusing and even frustrating, yet if we believe that the shepherd is good and trustworthy, he will lead us to places that we, in and of ourselves, are unable to go. He will show us streams of living water that we would never have known existed had he not led us there.
Following Jesus in this season, for you, may feel painful and confusing. You may want to resist and push against the arduous and treacherous path he has you on. Remember this: Jesus isn’t here to simply validate your decisions or preferred future. He knows our “wisdom” may lead us straight off a cliff! No, he’s here to lead us and at times will ask us to do hard things. We must count the cost of discipleship and choose daily to surrender to him and learn the freedom that comes from following him as he leads.
Father, help us to trust that you are leading us into green pastures and still waters, and give us the courage to follow as you lead. Amen.
Do you believe that God can lead you through your current challenges and trials into places of rest?
Ezekiel 34:14-16; John 10:7-18; 1 Peter 2:25
God is good and trustworthy, he will lead us to places that we, in and of ourselves, are unable to go. #love #Jesus #wisdomhunters
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