In his classic book, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, author, Phillip Keller, gives us some striking insights into the job of a shepherd. For instance, in verse three, where David says, “He restores my soul (NKJV), he uses language that every shepherd would understand.
Sheep are constructed in such a way that when they fall over on their side and back, it is very difficult for them to get up again. (Some of you can identify, can’t you?) This is especially true when a ewe is pregnant or when it is near shearing time and their wool is long and becomes wet. When they fall over they flail their legs in the air, bleat and cry.
This becomes quite dangerous after an hour or so. Gas collects in their stomachs, the stomach hardens, and air flow is cut off. Eventually, the sheep will suffocate. This is referred to as a “cast down” position.
When a shepherd restores a cast down sheep, he reassures it, massages its legs to restore circulation, gently turns the sheep over, lifts it up, and holds it so it can regain its equilibrium.
What a picture of what God wants to do for us! When we are on our backs flailing and crying out because of guilt, or grief, or disappointed. When the cares of life have weighed us down and left us feeling hopeless. The Shepherd comes and reassures us of His love, lifts us up and holds us until we regain our spiritual equilibrium. “He restores our soul”.
I heard a great song on the radio this week that says,
But when I feel like giving up
You’re reminding me
That we all fall down sometimes
But when I hit the ground
You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I’m letting go
You lift me up when I can’t see
Your heart is all that I need
Your love carries me so I’m letting go
You lift me up with your love
“Lift Me Up” by the Afters
Isn’t it great to know we have a Shepherd who cares deeply for his weak and sometimes wayward sheep!
Have a great week!
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