Under the watchful eye of the shepherd

Eddie Bradley is pastor emeritus at High Way Church in Maple Ridge

  • Nov. 19, 2011 8:00 p.m.

The information on my birth certificate correctly identifies my birthplace as Section 1, Township 31, Range 15, west of the third meridian, Saskatchewan.

That description perfectly locates the two-room farmhouse five miles north of Rosetown where I first saw the light of day.

My parents were farmers, and like all our neighbours at that time, mixed farming was the order of the day. Wheat and oats were the main crops. Chickens, turkeys, cattle and horses and our collie Jack, made up the farm population.

My grandfather had all of these and more on his farm. He also had quite a large flock of sheep, which were the desire and too often the prey of the sly, hungry prairie coyote.

When I was about seven or eight years of age, my grandfather gave me a young ewe lamb and a male whose mothers had provided a feast for one of the flock’s predators. And so began my own flock, which over a period of time taught me a great deal not only about sheep, but  also about my responsibilities to my flock.

The 23rd Psalm, well identified and known as the Shepherd Psalm, is perhaps the crown jewel of all these sacred songs. It touches on all the circumstances of earthly pilgrimage.

Whether in sunshine or in shadow, it ministers grace, hope and comfort to weary pilgrims and to searching hearts.

David, too, was a shepherd boy who over the years learned lessons that stood him in good stead when he became ruler over his nation and accepted responsibility for its welfare.

On a personal level, he saw his own life as a sheep being under the watchful eye and care of the Shepherd, the Lord God of Heaven.

David begins this most popular of songs stating that the Lord is his shepherd and, therefore, he will not be in want and would take nothing. That is a great statement governing the life of God’s people.

Shepherd David knew that he was responsible for his flock 24/7. He did his best to discharge his duties for the welfare of his sheep. The Lord Shepherd, infinitely greater than finite David, is eminently qualified to shepherd His people in every way.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan (Notes on the Psalms – 23) writes: “All the circumstances of the pilgrimage, want, weariness, journeyings, wanderings, perplexities, the shadowed mysteries of the valleys, the thronging enemies, and the infinite beyond, are present; and the singer knows them.”

The life-journey of David is not unlike ours for these are experiences common to man.

The Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” watches over His flock 24/7. He provides every need, gives rest, and leads in pleasant paths. He restores, guides and cancels fear in death’s valley.

He protects in the presence of enemies and gives bountiful supply on earth and leads at last and forever to heaven, the house of the Lord.

Read this psalm in the Bible, the world’s bestseller, and allow it to bless and help as it has others through the centuries.

 

Eddie Bradley is pastor emeritus at High Way Church.

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