Last Sunday I preached on possibly the most familiar chapter of the Bible – Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd…” It felt like an appopriate thing to preach on in light of what has just gone down here on the estate. I called the sermon “Through The Valley” and essentially encouraged God’s people to trust the Good Shepherd, Jesus during this dark time. (You can find the sermon here). I also pleaded with all those who were there and who don’t know the love of the Shepherd in their lives to turn to Him in repentance and faith.
As I mediatetd on the beauty of the gracious provision and awesome security that is ours in Christ, I couldn’t help but be grieved for all those who can’t call Jesus “my shepherd”. In fact if the Psalm began with the words “The Lord is not my shepherd…” the reality for the lost is truly fearful:
The Antithesis of Psalm 23
The LORD is not my shepherd; I’m constantly in need.
I never have the time or space to enjoy the rich textures of life.
My path is the path of stress.
My soul is battered, exhausted and sick.
I am helplessly addicted to taking the wrong paths –
hell-bent on dragging my own name through the mud.
When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I am paralysed by fear,
for I know that ultimately I’m alone;
There’s no one to guide, comfort or encourage me.
I am daunted and defeated by enemies that are too powerful for me;
I’m a stranger to true blessing;
and I’ve never drunk deep of God’s abundant joy.
Surely sorrow and guilt shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall be cut off from the blessed presence of the Lord forever.
I’m so grateful that Jesus in His grace opened my eyes and caused me to trust Him as my Shepherd. My prayer and my passion for this community and this nation is that Jesus would graciously add more and more sheep to His fold.