I asked God if there was something He wanted me to ponder on for this week’s post and I felt Him say, “Me.” Psalm 100 came to mind, which I found is aptly titled in my Bible as All Men Exhorted to Praise God. It’s not a long Psalm (even in the Amplified Bible 😉 ), so I’ll put it in full below.

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness and delight;
Come before His presence with joyful singing.
Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His].
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting.
His faithfulness [endures] to all generations.

Psalm 100 AMP

It may be a short Psalm, but it holds so much.

When I first read it, verse 3 stood out to me:

Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His].
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

If you’re able to, take some time to selah, to think on, this verse and what it means to you before reading on.

When I read this verse, the second line got to me especially.

It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His].

The LORD, who is God, made me.

I did not make myself, therefore I am not my own. I am His. I am merely a sheep in His pasture.

I feel a little put in my place as I contemplate this, and many convicting questions arise.

Have I been living my life with the conviction that it is actually God’s?

Have I made choices that honour that reality?

Have I stewarded the gifts and resources He has given me with the knowledge that they are for Him?

Do I treat others with the conviction that they are His too?

My answers carry a mixture of yeses and nos.

Yes, I try to live my life for God, but if He asks me to do something I am fearful of doing or don’t want to do, I tend to resist.

Yes, I try to be pure and make choices that honour God, but there are times when I indulge in things I know I shouldn’t.

Yes, I try to use the gifts and resources He has given me to serve the Church and others, but I probably more frequently use them for myself.

Yes, I know that other people are God’s, but I don’t always treat them that way.

Verse 3 ends with We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Sheep don’t direct themselves. It is the shepherd who leads and guides them. The sheep simply follow along and yield to his direction.

There are times I wish I was a sheep. Not just like a sheep, but an actual sheep. I find that I often get so caught up in my reasoning and thinking that I end up not doing what God asks me to. I figure that if I am a sheep, I’ll be much more obedient to God.

But if God wanted me to be an actual sheep, He would have made me an actual sheep. Instead He chose to make me a human being, according to His likeness, and to Him that is a very good thing (see Genesis 1:31).

I do want to dwell on the sheep analogy a little more and on our Good Shepherd.

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most famous Psalm and it begins with The LORD is my Shepherd. Let’s look at this Psalm in full:

The LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.
He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the LORD.

Psalm 23 AMP

This is what the Shepherd does for His sheep. He does only good things for them and has only their best interests at heart.

To make this personal, if God has only the best for me in mind, then why am I afraid to be wholly His? I do not need to be afraid or delayed in my obedience, because my Shepherd has only good in store for me wherever He leads me.

So, what if the answer to my fears of obedience, to the ‘what ifs?’ of doing what God asks me to do, is that I focus on my Good Shepherd?

If I focus on Him, I do not focus on myself and the questions and overthinking that can take me away from His leading. If I focus on Him and the good things He has in mind for me as my Good Shepherd, I will more readily go where He leads me.

And so we’ve come full circle from the initial trigger for this post. God told me to ponder on Him for this post, we looked at how we are not our own but that we are His and the sheep of His pasture, we looked at how our Good Shepherd cares for us and has only our best interests in mind, which has led to a conviction to ponder on Him even more in the every day.

Let’s see what the week holds when we choose to ponder on our Good Shepherd and how He cares for us.

Cover image by Sam Carter on Unsplash

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