Friday, August 9, 2013

"The Good Shepherd"

    Every human being needs a shepherd, and only One exists who will suffice.

    "I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep" (John 10:11).

    God made our hearts to serve as the dwellingplace of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus, He shepherds us from within, dwelling and walking in us as the very Life of our lives (II Corinthians 6:16).  All others who attempt to occupy the sanctum of our spirits lead us to misery, destruction, and a bitter present and end.  "All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers" (John 10:8).

    Note the completely different quality of character between the Good Shepherd and those who seek to usurp His role.  He sacrifices His very life for us; the others seek to fleece and shear us of our wool.  In simple terms, our Lord is sublimely unselfish to a measure and degree beyond all imagining.  The "thieves and robbers," conversely, selfishly use us for their own purposes (while almost always falsely promising benefits and blessings in exchange for our devotion).  The Former perpetually governs us for our benefit, working "all things together for good" (Romans 8:28).  The latter concern themselves with their own belly, or other self-interested motivations that would instantly repel us if we could see into those dark hearts that sometimes shine as "an angel of light" (II Corinthians 11:14). 

    The unselfish nature of the Good Shepherd comprises the very heart of His character, nature, and way.  A long eternity will not allow full disclosure and discovery of His altruistic goodness.  Imagine, a Being exists who has never acted selfishly, nor who will ever do so during the "from everlasting to everlasting" duration of His existence.  He does not think selfishly, He does not feel selfishly, no selfish attitude every motivates or sullies His disposition, and He loves with such self sacrificial caring that wounds permanently etch His hands, feet and side.  Even His wrath speaks of character beyond our comprehension.  What kind of Heart creates other beings with the freedom to reject Him?  A selfish God would have made and programmed robots.  The living and true God, however, created human hearts with a personal freedom that will certainly lead to terrible consequences for those who misuse their liberty, but which nevertheless references the mystery of His loving nature and way.

    "The Good Shepherd giveth..."  Perhaps this incomplete phrasing of our Lord's statement about Himself most clearly makes the point we seek to propose.  We are governed by a Giver if we have believed.  Thus, our hearts are safe forevermore in His care, and safe in this moment.  This is peace, the peace of dwelling in the pastures of the shepherd, the Good Shepherd.

Psalm 23

    The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.  He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul.  He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  For Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.  Thou anoinest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

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