Wow….it has been awhile since I have been in blogger-ville. No worries…I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. Still here! It has been a crazy month or so with work, normal-everyday life and some trips out-of-town for us.
I am picking back up with the phrases from the 23rd Psalm. We are looking at “Even Though I Walk Through the Valley…” You may be wondering what a phrase like this has to do with sheep but there is a very interesting connection. As we have said that the whole Psalm tracks the entire year-long season of care between sheep and shepherd. When we come to this phrase we are looking at the halfway point in the year. One could imagine that the previous phrases were made by the sheep to other less fortunate sheep in the pen next door but with this phrase we make a dramatic turn. Spring has sprung and the efficient, good Shepherd leads his sheep out to the high country to the summer ranges. Their summer and fall will be spent in close companionship and solitary care of the good shepherd. The personal pronouns I and You enter the conversation. It becomes a most intimate discourse of deep affection.
The terrain that would be crossed would be wild mountains, rushing rivers, alpine meadows, and high rangelands. When Samuel came to anoint David as the next King of Israel David was not home but off climbing the summer ranges leading his sheep. He knew from first hand experience about all the difficulties and dangers, as well as the delights, of the treks into the high country. The good shepherd would not take his flock where he had never been but would have gone ahead to look over the country with care (Oh, the sweet care that our Heavenly Father, the good shepherd, takes with us as well). All the dangers of rampaging rivers in flood, avalanches, rock slides, poisonous plants, the ravages of predators that raid the flock, or the awesome storms of sleet and hail and snow were familiar to him. He had handled his sheep and managed them with care under all these adverse conditions. Nothing took him by surprise. He was fully prepared to safeguard his flock and tend them with skill under every circumstance.
Just as I was typing that last sentence and reflecting on how good our heavenly Father takes care of us, I suddenly had my stomach “drop out on the floor” so to speak. I remembered that last night on the way home from the office I realized that I needed gas bad! I was on a “wing and a prayer” so to speak. I had already passed all the gas stations and was just a few miles from home and so I prayed all the way home setting in my mind that I would go first thing this morning to get gas. Well, I forgot to get gas and came straight on to the office. Out of the clear blue I remember that I did not stop on the way in this morning so I really am on fumes now! Thankfully, I believe it was the Lord that reminded me and isn’t that just awesome that He takes care of us even in our ignorance! Lord, we really are like sheep and we need You to be our good Shepherd!
I’ll finish up this portion of the phrase next week! So stay tuned!