Photography by Cecelia Becker
169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
The last verse of this beautiful Psalm is a wonderful way to end this series on Reflections in Psalms! The Psalmist compares himself to a lost sheep. It’s not the first time this “theme” is found in the King James Bible. In fact, there six occurrences, which I find quite interesting. The Bible number six is defined as the number of man. So it excites my spirit to see man represented as a lost sheep! Man (the sheep) is eternally lost without a Saviour (the Shepherd) (Psalm 23:1)!
Sheep are one of the dumbest creatures on this earth. If led to do so, they will run off a cliff! God compares us to sheep who have gone astray and are in desperate need of a Shepherd to save them, guide them, and teach them (Psalm 23:2-5). Just as Israel was led astray by idols, so are the unsaved today led astray by today’s idols (Jeremiah 50:6). Man’s repeated attempts at “serving God,” failing, and falling away proved futile. The lost sheep needed a shepherd – but much more than just an ordinary shepherd. These sheep needed The Shepherd. This Shepherd would not only protect them, He would give His very life for them (Isaiah 53:6)! Furthermore, He would not lose even one but would seek out each and every one who was lost and die for them all (Matthew 18:12-13)!
I’ve heard that sheep know their shepherd’s voice and are calmed by it. What a beautiful analogy! Once we are saved, we are reconciled to our Shepherd through His precious blood and He is the Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25)! He cares for us in the same way as a Shepherd cares of His sheep! When a sheep goes astray, the shepherd uses is rod to “spank” it. If the sheep repeatedly goes astray, the shepherd inflicts pain in order to keep it in the fold (Proverbs 3:11 and Hebrews 12:7-11). Injured, the sheep becomes dependent on the shepherd and draws nigh to him! Isn’t that great?
The shepherd’s staff was used to lean on or to support one’s self. Oh how beautiful a picture this paints! I am able to lean on Christ and allow Him to support me when I can’t hold myself up (Matthew 11:28-30)! There are so many things I cannot do in my own strength and wholly have to lean on Him! I have read how the shepherd would stroke (or pet) the sheep with his staff: the sheep would be comforted by it. How many times have I been comforted in this manner during an extremely difficult trial (Psalm 23:4)! I have literally felt the Lord’s presence!
How lovely is God’s word to me! How precious! There is great comfort found when one searches its blessed pages! I hope you have enjoyed this journey as we have reflected on this magnificent Book of Psalms! I know I have