We always have a positive outcome and a hope to look forward to as Christians. There are numerous promises in God’s word that convince us of this fact, but Psalm 23 contains a quiver full of promises that we can make our own in any circumstance.
- We shall have NO lack, because God is our Shepherd. No lack means NO lack – you cannot interpret it in any other way.
- In all circumstances God will give you peace and lead you to still and restful waters. He calms the storms, He does not cause them.
- He will refresh and restore your life, no matter how broken, ‘dried up’ or lifeless you feel. This invigoration is something to look forward to!
- You never have to fear or dread any evil, because God (the Protector) is with you.
- You can look forward to a cup that runs over – meaning you will always be blessed with even MORE than you need.
- You can look forward to three things following you ALL the days of your life: goodness, mercy and unfailing love. No other hidden clauses are included in this sentence – the verse says ONLY these things shall follow you.
Read this Psalm often if you feel despondent or fearful – every word is true. You can make it your own, keep it close to your heart and look forward to all that lies ahead!
I want to continue the story about the Door and the Shepherd in this post. We’ve been busy in John 10, and today I want to look at verse 10 specifically.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10
In this verse Jesus clearly sets himself apart from stealing, killing and destroying. This is such an important part of His character that we need to grasp and solidify in our hearts. We must know the heart of God towards His flock. Jesus also refers to Himself as the good shepherd in the next verse (John 10:11). There are a few more verses in the Bible regarding God’s flock and His heart towards them:
“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.” Ps 23:1-2
“I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” Ezekiel 34:14
“And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing, and I will cause the showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing [of good insured by Gods favor].” Ezekiel 34:26
As God’s sheep we can expect life in abundance – so much life that it overflows! We can expect provision, rest and peace in God. We can expect goodness and showers of blessings and favor. I don’t see any reflection of a bad shepherd in the verses above – just amazing kindness and goodness.
In the previous post I spoke about Jesus being the only door through which preachers should approach their church. In this same chapter (John 10), Jesus refers to Himself both as the Door, and the Shepherd (John 10:11). This means we are part of His flock. We belong to Him, not a specific denomination. He is the only truly committed Shepherd and we are under His protection. He has fully dedicated himself to us – He does not flee when danger approaches. He defended us even to the point of laying down His own life. No other earthly shepherd can compare with Him.
The verses I want to focus on is 3 and 5:
“The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them out.” John 10:3
“They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call.” John 10:5
We have a built-in voice recognition system which only responds to the voice of Jesus. It is only His voice that will resound in our hearts – any other voice will be of an intruder. This means I don’t have to fear succombing to a lie or being mislead by any other doctrine. As part of Jesus’ flock I will know the true voice of Truth, the voice which confirms every good thing I have heard about the work of the cross and testifies about the love of God.
I am safe and secure.