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In my mind’s eye I see lush green lands and vast blue skies. Streams of water meander through and in the midst of this beauty is a striking young boy and his herd of sheep.
King David spent his youth as a shepherd, tending to his sheep, protecting them and providing for them. He went as far as to protect his sheep from predators like bears and lions having very little regard for his own life at those times. It seems as though King David is drawing a parallel between what he had done as a shepherd and what the Lord does with His children. The very idea of a life without God in it doesn’t exist anymore. The Lord is much more than a shepherd. He is a provider to those in need, a strong tower to those who need protection, a healer to the sick, peace to those who are tempest tossed, strength to those who are weak, justice to those who are wronged and so much more. Above all He is a Father to us all. He is a Father who does not leave us or forsake us, a Father who knows all his children by their most intimate details and behaviours.
Going back to the first few chapters of Genesis we see how creation came into being.
It is noteworthy that God ‘spoke’ everything into being but it was different with man. God used His very own hands to mould and shape man and then breathed His very own breath in to him. Often times we read this without understanding the significance. It would have been very easy for God to just ‘speak’ Adam and Eve into being. Instead here we have a picture of a Father who put His hands into the dust to create us, to mould us, to shape us and He gave us his very life giving breath. Moreover He took time to do all this and didn’t seem to rush it. It makes me think that God didn’t create man to just abandon him but He wants a personal relationship and intimacy with each and every one of us, a relationship that transcends the superficial nature present in all relationships today. The imagery here is where I see a mighty and awesome God putting His fingers into dust thereby dirtying His precious hands to create man. It is repeated again in the Gospels where the Lord sent Hisown son to pay the price of our sin and give us life in abundance. God is not insecure or approval seeking but this just goes to show that God has an unconditional and unfathomable love for mankind. Irrespective of how many times we let Him down and do not even remember Him, He continues to be mindful of us, loves us, provides for us, protects us and moulds us. It is indeed truethe Lord will neither leave us nor forsake us.Verses two and three of this psalm seem to signify the seasons of life, a time of rest, restoration, joy and abundance and a time of chaos and turbulence.
God’s goodness is seen in every season of our lives.
As we walk with the Lord we realise that we are never in lack, all forms of pain and hurt have been washed away and erased from our memory, all previous habits irrespective of their depth in our lives no longer hold us in chains and indeed we have life in abundance. We have an empowering grace over our lives that no longer lets us conform to the ways of the world. For as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13: 9-10, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” And so indeed we are transformed, moving from glory to glory till the day of Christ’s return when all the good work that God began in us will be perfected and completed and the part will be done away with. Problems in this time and age are no longer are a rarity. They have a way of appearing when we least expect it and often times they leave us battered and weak, just barely holding on. It is so comfortingto know that our Lord is with us when we are tossed around by stormy situations. The Lord’s rod and staff represent His protection and guidance over our lives. Through the storms He strengthens us where required and helps us move forward into victory. Notice that all through the Bible before there is great victory there is always a time spent in the valley of death. This brings to memory the time when Moses and the Israelites were stuck between the red sea and the Egyptian army among many others. There was death on both sides and even in that impossible situation we see Gods protection and guidance in that the red sea parted and not one life of the Israelites was lost. Instead the Egyptians came under the judgement of the Lord. And so it is with us as children of God. Through the valley of death, people may seem to come against us, but it seems to me that God takes it personal. They are actually coming against God and so He prepares the way for our deliverance and victory. The table is prepared, we are anointed and our cups run over.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul mentions that God will never test us beyond our ability and He will always make a way of escape. And so it is with problems.
We must remain grounded and rooted in the Word and ways of God, we must remain still in His mighty hand and let Him work the possible out of the impossible. After all greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Blessed are we that we were chosen by our Lord to be His children much before the foundations of the world were formed. Blessed are we that the veil has been torn off and the truth revealed to us. Blessed are we that we were chosen to be hidden away from the trials of this age. Blessed are we that out of all the generations that have passed and are yet to come He chose us to be saved, redeemed and made righteous. Most blessed are we that we may be able to spend all of eternity in the house of the Lord, in His presence where nothing will ever be able to snatch us away from His unconditional love. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jer 31:3