"And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." Psalm 23:6B
In the beginning of Psalm 23, we learned that the LORD was our Shepherd and that He is all we need. Through these devotionals we have also learned about the life of the sheep during a full year of their lives and how important a good shepherd is. Now, we have come to the end of this beloved Psalm and what wonderful truths are there still to grasp.
Throughout the sheep’s life, if they have a good shepherd, they have learned to be content in the shepherd’s care. They go from the farm in the spring, through the mountain pass to enjoy the rich pasture of the tablelands for the summer. When autumn hits with its storms of rain and sleet, they head back down to their home at the farm and stay through winter. In all of this, their shepherd has taken good care of them and they have learned to trust him with his care and are contented.
We too, can find contentment in our Great Shepherd and David knew this as he wrote this Psalm. As a shepherd himself, he knew what contentment meant for the sheep as he took such great care of his father’s flock. He knew how dependent they were on him and how dependent we need to be in our Great Shepherd.
When a sheep has a good shepherd, not only are they contented but they feel safe and loved. Throughout the year, they have seen their shepherd provide for their nourishment and safety as they traveled to the tableland for the summer. They have seen their shepherd protect them from harm of predators, poisonous plants, bad water and the weather.
Our Great Shepherd provides all of that for us, as His sheep. We know that we can be contented in His care for us as we read His Word, the Bible. He shows us His love, through what He did for us at Calvary. Throughout His Word we see Him providing for our needs, and we are safe in His care.
Unfortunately, there are sheep who have a bad shepherd caring for them and they desire to have what a good shepherd provides for their sheep. If they are able to escape their bad shepherd and sneak over to the good shepherd’s field, they think everything will be fine. The problem is they also bring their parasites and diseases with them. As much as the good shepherd would love to take care of them, he can only allow them to be a part of his flock when they go through the right “gate”. They can’t sneak in. They have to be cleansed of their parasites and diseases. They need to belong to the good shepherd.
The same goes for us as people. Satan is the bad shepherd. He has no care for the people of this world. He does not care for their souls nor does he care about their welfare. He only cares for himself. As a result there are so many wandering around thinking they have the right answers to their destiny but instead they are malnourished and dying of the diseased called SIN.
Many try to sneak over to the Great Shepherd’s pasture because they long to belong. The sad thing is, they try to enter their own way. There is only one way to be a part of this Great Shepherd’s flock and that is through the Great Shepherd, Himself. Jesus boldly said, “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
When people see me, do they see the Great Shepherd exhibited in my life? Do they envy what I have and desire to have it also? Am I exhibiting a life of total trust in my Great Shepherd, that I exhibit a life of peace and contentment? Does my life and words glorify His character? If the answer to those questions is yes, then what am I doing with it? What am I doing to insure that others will someday dwell in the house of the LORD forever?
As I thought about what I would be painting, this picture came to my mind as I thought about being with my Great Shepherd for all eternity. In the painting, you see Jesus, the Great Shepherd, holding a lamb close to His chest and the lamb’s head lifted up, snuggling close to its Shepherd. That lamb represents those of us who have placed our faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ. When my children were little, they loved being held and as they would snuggle close, I would look down, just like the Great Shepherd is doing here in this painting. There would be times, which they would lift their heads up and had such contentment on their face, just like this little lamb. They felt safe and loved, which is what our Great Shepherd desires for us. As you look at the scars on the hands of Jesus, it is a reminder of how He paid the price, so that we could be with Him for eternity. The red rope tied around His waist, represents His blood that was shed for our sins. He wants us to have sweet fellowship with Him, to know Him and that is only possible through His death and resurrection.
I looked up what the Hebrew meaning for “house” was in regards to this passage, and it means dwelling place with family. What a thought! We, who belong to the Great Shepherd, will be with Him forever. Can you imagine living In the Shepherd's Presence for Eternity? What a day that will be!
In this special blog series, I painted Psalm 23 verse by verse, personalizing the verses from a sheep's devotion to their Great Shepherd. Each picture is painted on a roof slate with acrylic paint. There are a total of 12 blogs when completed.