In the last post, we defined important terms from Psalm 119:73-80: fashioned, learn, comfort, and blameless. Now let’s begin to paint the picture of God as both shepherd and disciplinarian BUT as ultimately good in both.
The Good Shepherd
When we see God how David described God, we should be dumbfounded as to why any other images of Him even exist. It’s not that we can’t understand how immature views produce out-of-context renderings or how out-of-context renderings produce immature views; instead, it’s that we will be unable to accept those short-sighted views as even remotely accurate.When we see God how David described Him, we should be dumbfounded as to why any other images of God exist. Click To Tweet
The first brushstroke within our Good Shepherd painting is the reality that God is both our Creator and the One who has established us.
From the beginning, God made men and women in His image to reflect His glory into the world—to be fruitful, to multiply, and to rule over all that He had made. In establishing us for this purpose, God made us priests. He made us Kings and Queens if you will. Just like with David, God created us and established us to rule and reign.From the beginning, God made men and women in His image to reflect His glory into the world—to be fruitful, to multiply, and to rule over all that He had made. Click To Tweet
He also intended to give us understanding for the task, which is why the second brushstroke is that of a teacher.
It’s implied that God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Was it during those walkabouts that God pointed everything out to them—teaching them what to eat and not to eat, what to name, what to do? I think so.
God has always been about the business of teaching his progeny how to rule and reign. So much so that David confidently expected this level of teaching—and so should we. If we’re going to walk in our established position as image-bearers, then we need to learn (to be chastened). Thankfully we have God as our teacher.God has always been about the business of teaching his progeny how to rule and reign. So much so that David confidently expected it. Click To Tweet
The third brushstroke has a few blended colors in it. God is both a righteous judge and one who faithfully afflicts (disciplines, chastises).
You cannot take comfort in the latter if you don’t profoundly rest in the former. If God is not a righteous judge, if He is not perfect in His assessments of our lives, then we will never see Him as faithful in discipline. We will only see Him as harsh, and His discipline as severe.If God is not a righteous judge, if He is not perfect in His assessments of our lives, then we will never see Him as faithful in discipline. Click To Tweet
This wrong view will either cause us to run from God, or we will end up creating a false god who never actually disciplines us—the “my Jesus” approach. We’ve all heard it before, “Well, my Jesus would never send people to hell” or “My Jesus teaches that love is love.” This is nothing but an idol; something created out of one’s own imagination.
The next and final brushstroke (at least for today) sees God as present—One who is truly with us and for us in our shaping and reshaping.
As a comforter, God doesn’t discipline us with His rod only to leave us bleating alone in the pasture, battered and bruised. Instead, at each blow, at each affliction (even those which are the result of our blatant disobedience), our Shepherd is “sighing alongside us in our grief.” He is either sharing in our suffering, or our emotions, and sometimes both.God doesn’t discipline us with His rod only to leave us bleating alone in the pasture, battered and bruised. Instead, at each affliction our Shepherd is sighing alongside us in our grief. Click To Tweet
Please remember, Church, we are the object of a Good Shepherd’s affection. He is the one who is willing to leave the ninety-nine to go after those who’ve gone astray. He is a Good Shepherd who wants to walk with us again in the cool of the day as He did with Adam so long ago. He is present!
In the next and final post, we will look through Psalm 119:73-80 verse by verse. Until then, I’d love to hear how your view of the Good Shepherd has been informed or changed over your Christian life. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.