Lately I have been reminded of how God is my Shepherd. A term that I have heard, known and read several times before from the Bible, but one that has been penetrating into my heart even deeper lately. Think of the term, "shepherd." It means one who watches over sheep (or something.) Shepherds lead thier flocks into good pasture, where they could roam, drink from running water, graze on good grass, and most important, where they would be free from danger. Shepherds would not take their eyes off of their flock, their "children." Rather, they looked out for ferocious wolves, tended to their wounds, etc. WOW!
John 10 speaks about how Jesus is our Shepherd. "I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11.) And then you have Psalm 23. How precious this verse has become to me! While I was in Israel a little over a year ago, a Jewish man came and was inscribing verses, sayings and such, in Hebrew, on fine jewelry for us to take home with us. By default (my back up choice) I got Psalm 23:1-"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." I was a bit disappointed at first, but a few months later a dream was fulfilled of mine and I finally was heading to Africa to go work with Aids orphans. While there we put a little camp on for them and the theme of it was Psalm 23. Watching these precious african children savor and learn and memorize this Psalm was priceless to me. It made me appreciate my Hebrew ring and this entire Psalm even more. Then I headed home to find a few of my favorite Bible teachers teaching on this Psalm. And now, here recently, God has given me this Psalm as comfort in a much needed time of comfort.
Yall, the chapters in John 10 and in Psalm 23 (and throughout the entire Bible where God is addressed as our Shepherd) hit me in so many levels...esp. for where my heart is at right now. Sparing you the intimate details, I find myself in a season now where God is wanting to take over my heart. You see, I have known and loved God for quite some time now. And He has already healed and tended to so many wounds in this needy heart of mine. But due to a recent "heart issue" in my life, I have realized just how much of my heart that I do in fact still keep under lock and key, under many guarded walls, for myself alone. I was having my QT a few weeks ago when God led me to Psalm 23 again (it was "ironically" on my reading list for that day.) Verse 3 really stood out to me..."he restores my soul." I proceeded to look up what the word, "restore" in it's entirety means here and what exactly God was trying to say. So with the help of my amazing key word study Bible and Beth Moore's old notes on this Psalm, here is what I came up with. To restore here means, "to turn back, return, bring back, be recovered, a 'do-over.'" "What are you wanting to recover in my soul, Lord?" I pondered. To which I felt Him so gently and clearly reply, "Your heart, my child. You have held it in your own hands for too long now and all your struggles stem from that. I created you to be free, Corrie. But you are binding up yourself. Give me your heart. Trust me. Surrender. Let the walls down, and I will lead you to safe pasture. I will bring you back to what I created you to be: care-free. And you will no-longer feel so trapped. You will get your 'do-over.' Just trust me." "Woah!" That was my reply to Jesus. :) But I was ready. I am ready. Tear down these walls, Lord! As one of my new favorite songs by Jimmy Needham goes, "I need You like a hurricane, thunder crashing wind and rain, to tear these walls down. I'm only Yours now, Lord."
The title, Good Shepherd, carries with it so much meaning. For one, It means that He, my Good Shepherd, is my Gate-keeper. He will open and shut the gates around my heart accordingly. It also means that He will watch over me when the enemy is prowling around. For lately, the enemy has been on the move trying to destroy me. What he hates almost more than a child of God's turning from darkness to light is a child of God breaking free from his/her prison cell. I will admit, it has been a fight for me lately. Sometimes the heat gets too much for me and I want to run. But that is another thing that God is teaching me about my heart. I try and be perfect and strong for everyone and in reality, I'm not. I am weak and it has taken me a long time to admit that. I need Jesus too! For when I am weak, then He is strong!
So today, As Kirk Franklin so eloquently puts into song...I will...Be still and know that He is God. I will surrender to His authority. I will stand, fight the good fight, and not give up. I will let Him lead me into green pastures. I will let Him tend to my heart. I let Him guard my heart.
Good Shepherd, thank you for laying down Your life for me! You love me so much...I am in awe! Take this heart of mine and make it Yours! I am apart of the flock under Your care. As Nicole C. Mullen states, "Oh, Lamb of God; Oh Prince of Peace. What tribute shall I bring to worship Thee? I have no gold to lay at your feet. So Lamb of God, I offer me." That is in fact, all that You want...ME! Oh, come let us adore Him!