Yahweh Roi- Lord the Shepherd pt. 2
1000 BC King David made his mark on the earth. It could be that Psalm 23 was written in the same field as the shepherds who kept watch over their flock at night. It's possible, God does some pretty amazing things through time, and soils, and bloodlines.
Some historians speculate that the Shepherds referred to in Luke 2 tended the lambs used specifically for sacrificial temple worship.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11 ESV)
Shepherd Field outside of Bethlehem
slide show of Bethlehem past and present
Today, Bethlehem has a bustling tourist industry that caters to visitors from around the world. Although currently controlled by the Palestinian Authority and inhabited by a Muslim majority, visiting historical Biblical sites are a constant offering of the tourist industry. Tourists bring a great deal of money into the region and are valued and protected, although wandering around like David through the surrounding hills is probably not a good idea I'm thinking!
There are a few tours that will take folks to the presumed Shepherd field where David roamed and the Angel's visited. David spent quality time with his sheep in those fields. Many hours alone shivering in the night air while listening to the wolf's howl. He knew how to use his staff, he knew how to shear and lead. The sheep knew his voice as he called them by name. He wrote Psalm 23 from a knowing place. He knew the Shepherd, because he was one.
My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. John 10:27-29 Msg
I don't know about you, but I find the amount of voices echoing across the world right now to be deafening. Everyone has something to say about everything and if we are not careful, we can lose our ability to hear the One that matters the most. When this happens, anxiety, fear, anger or hatred can elbow their way to the forefront of our minds. Pushing and shoving and kicking aside peace and truth.
There is a trend I've been watching over the last few years among blogger types. "Influencers," younger and cooler than me. They have trendy clothes, urban farmsteads, tortoise shell glasses, book deals from big-pants Christian publishers, and take great photos of their mission trips sponsored by Compassion International. They all seem to know each other and meet up at conferences that sport over-sized sofas on moody-lit stages, good coffee, and non-sulfate wine. It looks fun, and I sometimes wonder if I was born a little too soon.
Yet, even though their words are laden with poetic imagery there also seems to be increasingly thought-provoking angsty rants over racial, gender, and social injustices coming from this camp. Jesus' shepherd's rod and His nourishing, safe field seems to have been replaced by a bullhorn and a soap box. Other's voices seem to be drawing these "influencers" to step outside of the Shepherd's pen. Culture. Tolerance. Mercy without truth. Love without truth. If we are not careful, even our own voices can crowd out the One voice that will never lead astray.
It's not that I'm against social justice causes, after all, Just Let Them Love You is all about giving voice to those that deserve to be heard.
Even so, I've learned a lot from these folks through the years and have been inspired to action as well. There are many voices worth listening to, I just want to make certain the Good Shepherd is leading the charge and I am following His voice first and foremost.