Showing posts from August, 2016

Going Home

…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).

Journey done. Home at last.

The picture of sheep and shepherd is one of wandering from place to place, from pasture to pasture, from watering hole to watering hole. It is a picture of dangers and difficulties from which the shepherd guards his flock. It is the life of a pilgrim—exactly what believers are in this world.

But now it is time to go home.

And the Shepherd knows the way. He’s been there. Everything is prepared.

Jesus told His disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am” (John14:1-3).

Thomas was confused at Jesus’ words. We might wonder what the confusion was since he had walked with Jesus for more than three years and should have figured things ou…

The Last Sacrifice

There are so many meaningful pictures in Psalm 23. But perhaps the first part of Psalm 23:6 is the greatest.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” (KJV)

Life is not good or merciful a lot of the time. So what is the shepherd telling us here?

In the world of the Old Testament, lambs were destined for slaughter, especially those bred on the hills outside of Jerusalem. From their perspective, if they had one, life was not good or merciful. Their end was as a sacrifice on the altar in the temple. Lamb after lamb, year after year, decade after decade.

Then came the Great Shepherd Who, strangely enough, was also the last lamb required to go to slaughter. John the Baptist introduced his cousin, Jesus, with these prophetic words: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

The writer to the Hebrews notes: “…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…by one sacrifice he made perfect forever those who are b…

A Well-Dressed Table

Sheep need sufficient pasture or they will not feed well. They need quiet waters or else they will not drink. They need a place free from predators and danger or they will be too anxious to eat or drink.

It’s the job of the shepherd to look after all these things.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5).

It’s the shepherd’s job to “prepare a table.”

Hunger is an enemy. Thirst is an enemies. Snakes and wolves and thieves are enemies.

In the human realm, the pastor-shepherd’s task is much the same. He must “prepare a table” so that hunger for Truth is satisfied. He must “prepare a table” so the thirst for the waters of salvation can be quenched. He must chase away the snakes-in-the-grass and the wolves-in-sheep’s- clothing that prey on his flock. He must deal with the thieves that rob the flock of peace and disturb them, making it difficult for them to benefit from the banquet that God has for them through the ministry of His Word and the presence …

To Prod and Protect: God's Rod and Staff

…your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4)

The wooden spoon, the belt, the ruler, the “board of education applied to the seat of learning;” whatever it was that was once a symbol of a just reward for bad behaviour, never seems comforting at the time. I didn’t get spanked often, but I had a healthy respect for that piece of belt that my father used on us when all else failed.

Today it is not “politically correct” to use these kinds of methods. It’s a shame. While abuse is never acceptable, there is a world of truth behind Solomon’s statement: “spare the rod, spoil the child.” In fact, he goes so far as to say that lack of discipline is a sign of lack of love (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13, 14).

We often liken the rod and staff mentioned in Psalm 23 to instruments of punishment. Sometimes they are instruments of discipline, but more often than not, they are weapons of protection and means of guidance. That is why they are described as being of “comfort."

A good shepherd…