June 13, 2017

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

Today I particularly need a shepherd. Cataract surgery on my left eye is a bit painful, more if I don’t keep it still. I’m also disoriented due to minimized of depth perception. I know it will improve, but right now it would be wonderful to have someone hold my hand and shepherd me through my day!

As I read these verses (with some difficulty) remembering the only time we had sheep on the farm, I chuckle. The sheep were like me after cataract surgery, only they didn’t seem to realize their problems! Sheep are not too bright, flighty, easily spooked, and act as if they cannot see what is directly in front of them. Of all animals, they are the most in need of a shepherd to guide them.

For us, Jesus is that shepherd, and in a far greater capacity than we realize. Even before He came, Zechariah foretold that He would be struck that God’s sheep would scatter yet eventually be refined and becomes God’s people. (Zechariah 13:7–9]

The OT also says that this Shepherd gathers his little lambs in his arms and carries them in his bosom (Isaiah 40:11), a picture that particularly appeals to me today. I’m glad to be in His care, secure and at peace. He says:

“I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David (points to Christ), and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken. ‘I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.’” (Ezekiel 34:22–25)

In the NT, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who willingly laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11). We deserved to die, but Christ took our place, dying for our sin as our Substitute. He is also the great Shepherd who rose from the dead in triumph and victory (Hebrews 13:20).

He saves us and brings us unto everlasting life (1 Peter 2:25) and when He appears for the second time, He will reward His people with a glorious crown: “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:4)

There is more concerning this Chief Shepherd, but for now, I am most interested in His tender care. As Fortner says, I am content to snuggle in His arms and be at peace. Because He carries my cares, I’m thinking those chores can wait for another day!

Jesus, I'm so pleased that You ask me to cast on my cares on You. This is a light burden that will pass, yet I'm thankful for Your presence and the peace You give. You are definitely the Good Shepherd who carries His sheep and leads us in pleasant places.

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