22 Oct A shepherd looks unto the Shepherd
Most Christian families know Psalm 23 from memory. If not for the whole chapter, every Christian will surely know these first few words: “The Lord is my shepherd”. A couple of days ago, these words came to my mind time and again. I meditated upon them and compared those times with the current situation related to COVID 19, migrant crisis and racism.
The present situation is a pressure test for the elected leaders to demonstrate their ability to lead the nations from the front, like shepherds leading their flocks. In the Bible, there was a King, David. He was not equipped to rule the country or had any prior experience to fight in a war. He only knew one thing – that the Lord is his shepherd. He worshipped the Lord as his shepherd, which shaped his life to emulate God’s character while dealing with his people of Israel.
1. A shepherd:
1.1. Share and care:
David himself was a shepherd, before becoming the King. He cared for his sheep and protected them from danger and led them into green pastures. The Prophet Samuel anointed him to be a designated king of Israel. At one point, while David was running for his life, the Amalekites raided their camp and took their belongings. David went after them with his six hundred soldiers. Half way through, two hundred soldiers backed off as they couldn’t proceed anymore. On that day, God has gave him a great victory.
When they returned to their camp after victory, the four hundred soldiers who fought the battle were reluctant to share their plunder with the two hundred soldiers who stayed back. David rebuked them and asked them to share the possession. He made a law that each one has to receive their share alike.
David liked to share things but Saul was the opposite. He kept and took from the people just as Samuel highlighted the consequences of asking for a king who will take all that they have.
1. 2. Leading the battle:
A shepherd should go before and lead the flocks into a fertile place that will provide them with enough food. King David led many battles on many occasions for the nation. Many times Saul didn’t lead the battles. When Goliath defamed the Israelites, he was watching without taking any action unlike David who defeated Goliath. David took his life into his hands to protect the Israelites from the Philistines.
1.3. Wait patiently:
David, the designated king, had two opportunities to kill Saul, the then king of Israel when he was being chased by Saul. If David would have killed Saul at that time, he would have become the king immediately. He could have avoided his run from pillar to post for his life. But, David did not do it; He waited patiently for his rightful time.
2. The Shepherd:
David, the king of Israelites, looked unto the Lord for his deliverance and also hoped for the great Shepherd who was to come according to the promise of Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:14. But, we are a more privileged people, as we know the shepherd, Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour who came into the world to defeat sin and death and to redeem all people by his blood to include them in His kingdom.
2.1. Share and care:
God, the eternal father, lavished his love upon His eternal son. The Father’s love is self-giving and flows unto us by sending his son to the world to save us from the sin. Jesus Christ, the eternal son, accomplished that salvation on the cross and was resurrected on the third day. He shared his life to give life to us. He accepts us to be His children and granted us the privilege to be with the Father.
As we know Him, and believe in Him, our desire is that our heart, and attitude to be changed like Jesus Christ. If we follow the Shepherd, our love will be outflowing and self-giving life for others: Jesus commissioned Peter to ‘Feed the lamb’. Our life has to be shaped like the shepherd, if we follow the great Shepherd Jesus Christ.
2.2. Leading the victory:
Jesus Christ, being divine, set aside everything to become a servant and humbled Himself till death. As a result, God raised him from the dead and exalted him to the highest place. He comes to the world to fulfil the scriptures written about him in Psalms, the Prophets and Moses’ literature. He is the Lamb of God, the tabernacle, the prophet, the temple, and The great ‘I am’.
Just the way David went as a champion of Israelites to defeat Goliath, Jesus went to the cross as a serpent crusher to crush the head of the serpent and deliver the people from sin and death. He was resurrected on the third day and is living forever.
Jesus obtained victory on the cross which is the great salvation and the gift of salvation has been given to us. As His soldiers, we need to follow Jesus Christ, celebrate his victory, and proclaim him.
2.3 Wait patiently:
The main purpose for which Jesus came to this world is to deliver people from sin. Jesus’ brothers, Satan and disciples tempted him to be a popular leader or go through short cuts to obtain the earthly throne. Jesus Christ waited for His hour. Once His hour has come he clearly set his face towards the cross. He didn’t succumb to the pressure of the people.
As David the shepherd, looked unto the Shepherd, in the same way, the present leaders need to look unto the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, to lead the people with compassion and care.
He came to the world: to die for our sin, was resurrected on the third day, to share His glory with us, and take us to the Father in order to keep us near in His bosom becoming the Children of God. Let us therefore, live a holy life, follow the shepherd who has won the battle of sin and death and wait patiently for his return, show selfless love and outflowing love to others and bring others to Christ.
Peter Daniel Joseph, lives in Perth, with his wife and two grown-up daughters. Presently joined as a student, doing Graduate Diploma in Divinity in Trinity Theological College, Perth.