Encounter: Meditate on Psalm 23 and continue memorizing. Read through Psalm 8 and journal your thoughts as you meditate on this passage.
Most of us have a hard time relating to the life of a shepherd with their sheep making Psalm 23 seem disconnected from our real-life experience. Knowing this cultural divide could get in the way of a deeper understanding of God, in 1970, storyteller Weldon Phillip Keller wrote the book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, in order to bring us along in a day in the life of a real-life shepherd.
As an agricultural ecologist who spent significant portions of his life both living among shepherds and being a shepherd, Keller walks us through the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep and beautifully illuminates exactly what it means when we call the Lord our shepherd.
He writes, “Now the beautiful relationships given to us repeatedly in Scripture between God and man are those of a father to his children and a shepherd to his sheep. These concepts were first conceived in the mind of God our Father. They were made possible and practical through the work of Christ. They are confirmed and made real in me through the agency of gracious Holy Spirit.”
What better picture of the love of a Father than the description we read about in Psalm 23. Somedays we respond like the shepherd King David as he wonders at this God who created this world and would come down in the most personal way as a Good Father and display His care to each one of us, “Who are we that you would even take a second look at us?”
Most Father’s know they are like sheep; their fears and timidity, stubbornness and mob instincts, their straying away from their shepherd, yet the message on this Father’s Day is “despite these adverse characteristics, Christ chooses them to be an expression of His Great Love, calls them by name so they know they are Sons, makes them His own to guide and bless, and delights in caring for them and multiplying His blessings through generations. Like a Shepherd who cuts a notch into the ear of their own sheep showing ownership, our God is making His mark in each man’s life so that they will enjoy the benefits of His care.
It is surprising that anyone would turn down this blessing, but as we look around we know there are those who refuse the Shepherds invitation to abundant life.
On this Father’s Day, the invitation to all men is to search their own hearts, motives and personal relationships and ask:
Do I really belong to Him?
Do I really recognize His right to me?
Do I respond to His authority and acknowledge His ownership?
Do I find freedom and complete fulfillment in this arrangement?
Do I send a purpose and deep contentment because I am under His direction?
Do I know rest and adventure in belonging to Him?
If so, then with thanksgiving and a worshipping heart you can say with confidence just as David, “The Lord is my shepherd!” And I am overjoyed that I belong to Him, because it is belonging to Him my life will be blessed and I will bless my generations after me.”
We love, honor and value our Guys on this day and all days! Praying over all men in our church, community and world to come to this knowledge, for the most fulfilling of all Father’s Days.
Following our Shepherd,
Encourage: Forward this devotion to a man who needs to know the Lord as His Shepherd, the Lord as His caring Father.
Gather: Consider attending the new men’s ministry, The Forge, with Pastor Matt and invite some friends. Their meeting location is at Commonway Church. For times and dates email Matt, talk to him this Sunday or call the office for details.
Note: Weldon Phillip Keller (1920-1997) wrote more than thirty-five books on Christian subjects, including his most popular book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 The son of missionary parents in Kenya, Keller grow up in Africa before becoming a world citizen as a photographer, agronomist, and author. His books have over two million copies in print.