“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” ~ Psalm 23:1-3a
© 2016 Lynn Abbott
“I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while,can’t You choose someone else?” inquires Tevye of God in the memorable musical, Fiddler on the Roof.
And to that, I know a great many of us will respond with a hearty “Amen!” Yup, been there; said that!
When a neighbor’s twenty-something son dies unexpectedly, when a friend requires early retirement, when a marriage disintegrates, when the diagnosis is cancer, when death knocks at a family’s door 3 times in one year, when religious persecution hurts a family or a child, I wish to raise my hand and echo Tevye’s question.
In contrast, a response to trouble such as Job’s–“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him…”– astonishes most of us.
Fortunately, God has sketched a great many word pictures that help me understand who He is. His choice of an unlikely Old Testament boy as the second king of Israel gives us a glimpse of His divine grace.
Samuel, God’s prophet sent to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king, did not expect a David. A shepherd, in the world’s eyes, had little potential as a ruler over a great people. Yet, God chooses not as humanity chooses. God selected a shepherd-king.
David, in fact, is both ancestor and archetype, although imperfect, for the ultimate King, the one who called himself “The Good Shepherd.”
Both Shepherd and King. And suddenly, considering this image, my view of God’s sovereignty shifts.
In such light, I recognize that God’s sovereignty is not capricious.
His thoughts of love are fully for His sheep. And given that sheep see very little of the big picture, the Shepherd cares for them, guiding them to safety and continually providing for their needs.
He leads with grace.
Placed in a manger and announced to shepherds by angels, this King sets himself apart from worldly kings. Indeed, He gives His life for the sake of the sheep. This is our Sovereign Shepherd,