Prayer for the day
I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name for evermore.
Scripture for the day
It’s probably one of the most famous passages in the Bible. We hear it read at funerals. We hear it spoken by ministers and sung by choirs. “The Lord is my shepherd.” Unfortunately, few of us know any shepherd or even what shepherds do anymore. This language was much more suitable to an agrarian society where people were actually still shepherding.
Now that we’ve moved away from shepherding, many feel that this Psalm paints a picture of God as a kind of babysitter, someone who watches over us every once in awhile but basically sits around and plays his pipe while we do whatever we do!
The picture the Psalmist paints, however, is anything but the disinterested, hands-off God. This is a God who not only cares for his “sheep” but he is a God who actively leads his people, cares for his people, corrects his people, searches for his people, and comforts his people. This is an active, caring, parental shepherd.
This loving and caring shepherd, who seeks to accomplish good things for his people, shows up in the Second Testament as well! Paul is confronted by some people who have heard crazy rumours about Paul rejecting Judaism and insisting that children of Jews who have accepted the Messiahship of Christ not follow any of the Jewish laws.
Paul rejects this entirely, and seeks to prove this through engaging in purity rituals in public, ensuring that those who doubt will believe. Paul is trying to reassure those of Jewish decent who are following Jesus that their God still cares for them, that the structures this God put in place for them are still good, and that God is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This God is still the good shepherd, still the one who lovingly cares for his people, seeks them out, and desires to have a beautiful relationship with them.
Thank God He still does!