STILL STUDYING PSALM 23
Did you ever hear the story of Archimedes?* I don’t recall the details, but I believe he was the Greek guy who discovered the principle of displacement (whatever that means.). It has something to do with buoyancy (whatever that means!). When he visited the public baths and got into the tub, the density of his body displaced an equal amount of water and the tub must have overflowed. Legend has it that he got so excited, he jumped out of the bath and ran outside (Before even getting dressed! (We crazy Americans are not the ones who invented the “streaking” fad.). And ran through the streets of the ancient city shouting “Eureka!” “I’ve found it.” Admittedly, he’d stumbled on a great, useful scientific principle. But can you imagine anyone getting that carried away with something few people even understand.
Here on the site we’ve just been talking and thinking about words. Mere words. And ideas. But words have meaning. Ideas have consequences. We’ve discovered a couple of “nuggets” so far. You own them now. They’re yours. Cherish them. They will increase in value. Keep them in your heart and use them as often as necessary. It’s o.k., too, to get excited when you discover something important and beautiful. Just don’t “lose your cool!”
One of those “words” is Shepherd. We aren’t going to hurry past this idea, because it is so meaningful. We’ll definitely be richer if we consider this concept and incorporate it in our lives.
Have you noticed how Jesus often made comparisons? He often used simple words and ideas to convey profound meaning. He’d take things with which we were very familiar and then use them to open our minds to beautiful, profound ideas we may never have been able to see so clearly. He referred to Himself as ‘Bread,” “Water,’ ‘Light,” and “Shepherd” and called His followers His “friends,” His “sheep.”
He was so familiar with the land in which He lived. He knew and understood the people, how they lived, and how important some things were to them. He also KNEW they’d understand what He meant.
In order to really appreciate something, I need to think about it and understand its meaning and importance. I’ve never raised sheep, so I have to switch gears in my mind completely to see the point(s) David and, later, Jesus, were trying to illustrate. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even begin to know how to care for them.
I don’t know much about sheep. That is a classic understarment! But, if Jesus and David thought the concept was important and appropriate, it seems worth my time to think carefully about why they felt that way. The Shepherd-sheep idea seems to address both the relationship that exists between them and the role I play in this simple scenario.
It seems to me that one of the immediate observations you could make is the closeness that exists between the Shepherd and the sheep and the tenderness with which the sheep is treated. A good Shepherd knows His sheep. They are his main assignment. He’s willing to risk his life for them. They know Him and come when they hear Him. They were important to him. If one got lost (as they often did), the Shepherd would go looking for it. No matter what the danger, the Shepherd would search for his lost sheep, until He found it.
While considering this analogy I couldn’t help considering my own affection for my pets and for little new-born babies, ducks, or “chickies,” etc. While I know the affection I have for my litltle handicapped Westy is nowhere close to the love the Shepherd has for His sheep, I can begin to get the point. He loves me. Do you see what great lessons He taught us, using such a simple analogy? He used something even my simple mind can grasp to make me start contemplating a love that is greater than anything I can begin to imagine.
When I “strayed away from the fold,” He was looking for me. And never gave up His search.
We can talk all we wish about our “searching for God.” But in truth, my experience was that I was running from him. Avoiding Him. It was He who did the searching. It was He who waited patiently for my rebellion to run its course and welcomed me when I finally came to my senses and “came home.”
Even though sometimes I’ve acted like a billy goat in sheep’s clothing, The Good Shepherd knows who I am and how badly I need Him.
Sincerely, a servant, donkimrey
(*I’m not sure whether it was Archimedes or Euclid. Or some other ancient wise one. And I certainly don’t understand the importance and applications of the principles having to do with buoyancy. Fortunately, shipbuilders do and others who need to know!! And you should know it before you put too much water in the bathtub!!).