The week before last, many of my Bible readings were from parts of the Bible relating to our Lord as the Shepherd of His people.
You know, like many of you, Psalm 23 was the first part of Scripture I ever learnt, and the words are more familiar to me than any other words in the Bible - indeed from any piece of literature. But when I read and meditated on the Psalm last week, it was as though I was reading parts of it for the very first time. After 45 years of knowing the Psalm, and after 30 years of knowing the Shepherd, His Word is still new and living! In fact, I was thinking that if I have a 'death bed', I suspect this Psalm may be my meditations even then :)
One thing that struck me was the One who is my Shepherd. The LORD! The One who is my Shepherd is Mighty to save; He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe; He is Altogether Wonderful. He is all these things, and He is my Shepherd.
Mine! He is mine, and I am His!
This is beyond-words amazing. Truly, it would never have entered into the heart of man what God had prepared for His people.... to belong to such a Shepherd. Don't our hearts just want to sing aloud!
The following day's reading was from Isaiah 40 (and by the way, please go and read this chapter. If you read no other words today, read Isaiah 40, and tell me if you're not moved by it.). Verse 11 says this:
"He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."
This blew me away. The mighty arms that 'hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand' (v13); the One who cannot be likened to any other, for He is 'the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth'... He 'faints not neither is weary, there is no searching of His understanding' (v.28). He is ALL this, and yet, these very arms gathers His lambs and carries them in His bosom. He gently leads ....'.
Who would want a god who was ALL mighty, but who had no care for His lambs? Or who would want a god who cared for his lambs, but didn't have the power to actually do anything for them?!
Our Lord cares and leads and holds and guides. No wonder Isaiah wrote, "He is altogether Wonderful"!
When I took a wee wander outside the other day, I was reminded of this again. There were some sheep in the field just in front of the cottage, and I casually and quietly wandered over to them, as unobtrusively and as unthreateningly as possible.
They looked anxiously,
and then, almost inevitably, turned their backs and ran off.
I meant them no harm. But the point is they do not know me. I am a total stranger to them; they have no relationship with me; and I have never been anything more to them than a passer-by with no real care for their well-being.
This used to happen to me at home too, with Big Brother's sheep.
On the other hand, the Builder's youngest sister had a totally different reaction from them.
See how they follow her.
And look at them here! The follow her and want her to stay!
In the photo below, they turn off the road and head into the field following Big Brother.
See them? They need no persuasion. They follow their shepherd.
Big Brother, and my sister-in-law in the previous photos were trusted by the sheep. The flock knew them, and because they knew them, they followed them, they surrounded them, they ate out of their hands.
Before I knew the Shepherd, before I was one of His flock, I ran too. Like Adam, I would have hidden myself, if only I could. But now, I know His voice. He is mine, and I am His, and it is my delight to follow Him, to feed from Him, and to hear His voice. How could it not be my delight? He is, after all, the most delight-FUL Shepherd.