Returning to the Shepherd of our Souls
The most glorious news about Christ’s suffering in our stead is that through bearing our sins in his body and by enduring our wounds or stripes God has made it possible for us to return to the “Shepherd” and “Overseer” of our souls (1 Peter 2:24-25). Continue reading . . .
The most glorious news about Christ’s suffering in our stead is that through bearing our sins in his body and by enduring our wounds or stripes God has made it possible for us to return to the “Shepherd” and “Overseer” of our souls (1 Peter 2:24-25).
How can anyone read this in 1 Peter and not think of Psalm 23? “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
There are countless descriptions of God in the Psalms: he is a King who rules over us, a rock of immovable stability, a deliverer in times of distress, a fortress in whom we find refuge, a shield behind whom we safely retreat. But there’s something special about his being a shepherd. There’s a dimension of personal tenderness and intimacy in the image of God as the one who shepherds his lambs. David well remembers the attentive watch and protective love he had for his sheep. “Yes,” he may well have cried out in a moment of revelatory insight; “that’s what God is to me and you!”
He’s MY shepherd! If he be a shepherd to no one else or to everyone else, he is at least my shepherd. He cares for me, watches over me, provides for and protects me, all the while doing it for his name’s sake (which is why it’s truly an act of love; see the previous meditation).
What inference does David draw from this marvelous truth? The Lord is my shepherd, therefore I can do anything I want! No. The Lord is my shepherd, therefore I can wander off whenever I choose, disregarding his commandment that I stay close by his side! No.
The Lord is my shepherd, therefore I lack nothing! There is nothing I need, says David, that God has not or will not supply. I am altogether satisfied with God’s management of my life. David isn’t being insensitive to the pressing demands of life, as if it is unimportant whether or not we have money to pay our bills and adequate clothing and a roof over our heads. His point is simply that everything we have above and beyond God is a luxury.
David’s point is simply this: “Take everything from me except my God and I’ll die the wealthiest man in the world” (cf. Psalm 16:2).
As Shepherd he will guide you no matter the circumstances, when options have run out, when the world threatens you with destruction, when friends run out of good ideas, when you are left wondering where next to turn . . . He is your Shepherd.
As Overseer he will provide you with moral authority in a relativistic age, answers for your questions, satisfaction for your soul, provision for your spiritual health, and protection against wolves and deceivers and Satan himself.
Praise God that through the substitutionary suffering of a sinless Savior, Jesus Christ, God has made it possible for us to be restored to the loving arms of our Great Shepherd and Overseer.