Tuesday, October 13, 2009

His Positioning Of Us.

Ps 23:1-3 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

He positions us for rest.

It’s not easy to get a sheep to lie down. A strange thing about sheep is that they will refuse to lie down unless four requirements are met. (1) They must be free from all fear. (2) There must be no tension between members of the flock. (3) They must not be aggravated with flies or parasites. (4) And they must be free from hunger.

He positions us for refreshment.

Sheep are poor swimmers. Their thick coats will cause them to drown once they get wet. For this reason, sheep will not drink from moving water.........if a shepherd comes to moving water, he will not force the sheep to drink from it, but instead will dam up a small portion of it so to provide them with "still waters" that they can, and will drink from.

Jesus made it clear that the thirsty souls of men and women can only be fully satisfied by coming to him. In John 7:37, he stated, "If any man thirsts, let him come to me and drink." Our Shepherd leads us beside the still waters.

He positions us by restoring us.

There is an Old English shepherd’s term called a "cast" sheep. This is a sheep that has turned over on its back and can’t get back up again. It happens frequently. And when it happens, all the sheep can do is lie on its back, with its feet flaying frantically in the air. Sometimes it will bleat, but usually it will just kick.

If the shepherd doesn’t arrive within a short time, the sheep will die. That’s one of the reasons why a shepherd is always looking over its flock, counting them to see if they are all on their feet. If one is missing, he thinks, "One of my sheep is cast and I’ve got to find it." This is the thought behind the parable of the 99 sheep and the one that went astray.

Many times a shepherd will search for hours for a single sheep, only to find it on its back, lying helpless. He will turn the sheep over on its side, rub its legs to restore circulation, then lift it to its feet. After a while the sheep will stumble and stagger, and then eventually walk steadily and surely.

That’s probably what David had in mind when he said, "He restoreth my soul" because that’s how our Lord treats us. We stumble and fall, we become so helpless. And yet our shepherd is patient and tender and helpful in getting us back on our feet.

I read the gospels and see the tenderness that Jesus showed toward sinners. I see how he restored Peter’s heart after his denial. And I understand that Jesus also restores my soul.