As I was preparing to teach about Jesus as the Good Shepherd last week, I thought about other “shepherd” passages in Scripture.
Which led me to look up references to shepherds in the Old and New Testament to help develop an understanding of our Good Shepherd.
Things like David explaining why he could take on a giant based on how he defended his father’s sheep.
Or Ezekiel warning Israel about God’s view of selfish and uncaring shepherds and how He, Himself…God…would shepherd His people.
And then Jesus’ parable of a shepherd who has a fold of 100 sheep…but one has wandered off.
How that shepherd will leave the 99 and go look for that one little wanderer.
How when he finds it, he places it around his neck and carries it back to the flock.
Psalm 23 is consistent with the picture God paints of the Good Shepherd in Luke 15.
His provision and protection; direction and care.
And as I read it in The Message, I see that pursuing love in verse 6:
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life…
So often we seem to think we are chasing after God…as if He is elusive and hard to catch.
That we have to read some book about finding Him, when He has already written a Book that reveals Himself.
He is pursuing US…
I remind myself of this truth quite regularly.
Because in other translations that verse uses “follow”…surely goodness and mercy will follow me…
But Eugene Peterson, when he translated into The Message, was using an accurate phrasing based on the Hebrew for this word “follow.”
It is “radaph”
And the radaph of God….this Good Shepherd…is not a passive following…it is a vigorous chasing down…pursuing…seeking…
His beauty and love are actively and purposefully pursuing us every day of our life.
So that we can say, as David did
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
For those of us who love the Lord and long to stay on His path, what a promise that He is working with us to keep us there.
For those of us who are praying for one who has wandered from the fold….or one who has never realized there is a fold…or one who has missed the point of being IN the fold…what a blessed comfort to know…
God is pursuing ….
with love, mercy and grace abounding.
May God bless you today and encourage your hearts to press in and not grow weary.
He is FOR us!