Going further down to verse 2 of Psalm 23, the sheep went further in this narrative to describe it’s many adventures with the Shepherd- “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters…Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me”.
This is a vivid summary of a long life enriched with vast adventures courtesy of the many places this sheep has been, not alone but under the leadership of the Shepherd. It was a bitter sweet experience as narrated by the sheep, however, either in pleasant places as by the side of still waters and pastures green, or in terrible places like the walk through the valley of the shadow of death, the sheep affirmed, “I will fear no evil because thou (referring to the shepherd) art with me”.
This evolution in confidence has been attributed by the sheep to the continuous presence of the shepherd all the time through the entire journey and notably both in the good times and the bad times.
The bear, the Lion & shepherd!
“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it”
1Samuel 17 vs 34 is the account of a shepherd remarkably dwelling on past escapades to forecast future victories. It is great to always look at what has happened in the past to move forward, however I am not interested in the narrative of the shepherd in this write up, I am much more particular about the sheep and its rescue from the Lion and the Bear.
The best place to seek an adventure is obviously not in the valley of the shadow of death, and the best place for any sheep to be on earth is surely not in the Lion’s month! Inside the Lion’s mouth, the trauma, the fear, the struggle and the shock of the reality that death from the crushing jaws of the predator looms is bound to kill any prey faster than lethal blow dealt by the predator itself. In our world, the number one killer of all trauma victims is shock from fear! Fear kills faster than death itself.
The mouth of the lion is no place for hope! However, this sheep waited, hoped against hope, chilled out in the eyes of the storm, was unafraid not in the very shadow of the looming death reaching out between the jaws of the lion! What was in the mind of this little sheep, what was it holding unto to? Certainly not unto the jaws of the predator!
Apparently in its mind the sheep thought- “oops, I have been here before!” Sure, it has been there before! And it has learnt to relax and wait for rescue from the never failing shepherd, the unchanging northern star in its sky, the one true north on its map, the one who has rescued it from the jaws of the bear! So, it stayed calm waiting for the shepherd of its life, the same shepherd who was with it in the valley of the shadow of death, the shepherd who led it by the still waters. Oh how much all its adventures with the shepherd taught this fading sheep to hope and believe that the shepherd is coming to get it out of the jaws of the lion.
In the absence of fear the sheep survived long enough in the mouth of lion for the shepherd to put up a rescue plan! Oh how sweet it is to know that in our darkest night and in our brightest day, there is one ever present presence – the Shepherd of our soul. He is the reason we have to hold on in the mouth of the fiercest beast. And when life’s tide rises against us, we will fear no evil because we know the shepherd of our soul is coming to get us!
Learn from your adventure with the Good Shepherd, He took you of darkness into His marvelous light – what darkness is too dark, what mountain is too high and what valley is too deep for God to take you through! Hold on, He’s coming to get you!