Tuesday, April 29, 2014

when the Lord is not your Shepherd

Think of what it means to not have the Lord as your Shepherd. Here are the words of Australian evangelist John Chapman (aka "Chappo") upon his retirement...
Throughout the Bible runs the wonderful theme of God being the shepherd of His people and of the wonderful security which this brings. In Ezekiel, when the leaders of Israel will not lead God's people into godly ways, God says, ''I myself will be shepherd to my people''. I suppose the best example of this is Psalm 23. The Psalmist lists the benefits of this relationship with God. He wants for nothing. God leads him in the path of righteousness. He satisfies him, leading him in green pastures and by still waters. He lifts him up when he is down. He restores his soul and, even in the face of death, he is still secure. ''When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,'' he says with confidence, ''I will fear no evil''. In the presence of his enemies, God comes to his aid and he lacks nothing. ''Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.''   
But spare a thought for the people who do not have the Lord as their shepherd. Spare a moment for them and pity them. What is it that they can say? And what is the truth of their position? Can you hear their cry?  ''The Lord is not my shepherd. I am in terrible want. No one comes to my aid. I know nothing of green pastures or still waters. It is 'every man for himself' in the world I live in. I flounder around in life desperately trying to make sense of it. When I face death, terrible fear grips hold of me, and in the presence of my enemies this fear intensifies. Goodness and loving kindness are total strangers to me. I have no hope at all when I look to life after death." Pity the person who is shepherdless! We should have compassion on the multitude around us who are lost.  
From The Wit and Wisdom of Chappo

The painting above is The Good Shepherd by Henry Ossawa Tanner, ca. 1917.

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