Psalm 23:6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
What a great verse to start the day! I don’t which part I like better- the part about goodness and mercy always following me or about dwelling in the presence of the Lord forever! We are promised, because the Lord is our Shepherd, only goodness, mercy and unfailing love will follow us throughout our lives. The job of a shepherd is to watch over his sheep- caring for them, protecting them, keeping them out of trouble and making sure that they are well-taken care of. As long as the sheep stay close to their shepherd, they don’t have to worry about anything. It’s only when they wander outside of his care that they may have problems. It’s the same way for us with our Shepherd. When we stay in the Lord’s care, allowing Him to provide for our needs, offering protection and guidance, we can be assured that we won’t have to worry about anything. It’s only when we wander away from Him that we have to fend for ourselves.
In Luke 15:4-6 Jesus tells this parable 4What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5And when he has found it, he lays it on his [own] shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost. I remember hearing this story in Sunday School as a child, only with a little more detail. It went something like this- The shepherd had brought all of his sheep home for the evening, and as he did every night he counted them one by one to make sure they were all there. When he was done counting he realized that one of the little sheep was missing. He went out in the dark to search for the little lamb. When he had searched for a long while he heard a sound. He shone his light down into a deep ravine and saw the little lamb lying at the bottom, hungry, cold and afraid. He quickly went into the ravine and rescued the lamb. He carried it back to the barn where he took care of it’s needs. Even though my teachers took some poetic license with the original parable, as I have, we can still learn a few things from this fictional story. First, the 99 sheep that stayed with the shepherd were warm, dry, safe and cozy in their barn the entire time, it was only the one who wandered off that got into trouble. Second, the shepherd cared enough about the one little lamb that he was willing to go out in the night and search for it no matter how long it took. Third, once he found the lost sheep he took it back to the rest of the flock, tended to it’s needs, and brought it to a place of restoration. This is how much our Heavenly Father, our Shepherd, loves us. If we stay by His side, following His lead He keeps us from harm and we see His goodness and mercy and unfailing love continually at work in our lives. If we do happen to get lost, He will do whatever it takes to bring us back to His fold. When he does find us, or rather when we find Him again, He brings us back to a place of restoration just as if we had never left. Take a minute today to thank God for His care and concern for you!