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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Inspired by... sheep

 

The Word of the Lord stands forever. The Bible is not some antiquated book, irrelevant in today's world. And yet, understanding the culture and the people of the Bible can further illuminate the Truth.

Countless people have been comforted by the words of the 23rd Psalm since David, the young shepherd boy who would be King, inspired by God, penned the words so many years ago.

 

Sheep

David called the Lord his Shepherd. Jesus Himself said, "I am the good Shepherd." And there are many references to us as sheep in the New Testament. 

But what do most of us know about sheep and Shepherds?

Growing up on a small family farm, I understood a little about sheep. But my father was a farmer, not a Shepherd, and there is a vast difference.

I remember the first time I read, A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm, by Phillip Keller.

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I was astounded by the imagery. Humbled and amazed by the depth of God's care for us. And comforted and encouraged by what He offers us... that we have only to accept by faith.

Here is just one example of the profound imagery in this book:

In chapter nine, Thou Preparest a Table Before Me, Keller explains that the shepherd would always go to the summer ranges, the tablelands or mesas (mesa means table, as you in the southwest know), ahead of the sheep to "prepare" it for their arrival. There were often noxious weeds or other dangers the shepherd had to remove before bringing his flock up to join him. In the same way, our Good Shepherd goes ahead of us in every situation, anticipating the danger and praying for us that in it we might not succumb. As Keller says, "At all times we would be wise to walk a little closer to Christ, the one sure place of safety."

How comforting and illuminating it is to have these images that Keller puts forth in my mind when I go back to my bible and read again the psalms and the very words of Jesus.

I'm sure there are other biblical scholars who have tackled this subject of the Lord as our Shepherd. (Leave me a comment if you've read any that you would recommend!) It is important to note that Keller spent the majority of his life as a shepherd and had intimate, first-hand knowledge of sheep and what it takes to care for them. He was also a child of God and as such had been enlightened to spiritual things.

In my opinion, when it comes to helping us better understand Jesus in the role of our good Shepherd, Keller has all the right credentials! And having read his work, I can highly recommend it.

 

Has gaining an understanding of bible culture or something in the physical (like sheep!) enlightened you to a profound spiritual truth?

Please share!

 

Blessings,

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3 comments:

  1. I love your photo and verse! Keller's insights on Psalm 23 are amazing!

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  2. Great shot and verse .... nice to meet you too :)

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  3. June, I haven't read that book yet, but I do love how the Lord brings to mind a certain verse or text as I observe things in His creation.

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June