“I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Actually what is referred to by “house” is the family or household or flock of the Good Shepherd. The sheep is so deeply satisfied with the flock to which it belongs, with the ownership of this particular shepherd, that it has no wish to change whatever.
Bragging to its less fortunate neighbors on the other side of the fence, it boasts about the wonderful year it has had and its complete confidence in its owner.A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
W. Phillip Keller has challenged our small group of neighborhood women over the summer as we read and discussed this book together. Every chapter offered us something to ponder and consider in our own lives. These ending passages especially spoke to me. I have been pondering for some time how the Old Testament writers declared the goodness of God. Do I do the same?
Sometimes I feel we Christians should be much more like this. We should be proud to belong to Christ. Why shouldn’t we feel free to boast to others of how good our Shepherd is? How glad we should be to look back and recall all the amazing ways in which He has provided for our welfare. We should delight to describe, in detail, the hard experiences through which He has brought us. And we should be eager and quick to tell of our confidence in Christ. We should be bold to state fearlessly that we are so glad we are His. By the contentment and serenity of our lives we should show what a distinct advantage it is to be a member of His ‘household,” of His flock.A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
These passages struck me. So many think of Christians as judgemental and hypocritical. What if we followed Keller’s wisdom and let them see our contentment and joy?
But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you;1 Peter 3:15 NRSV
Hope, contentment, joy within you. Let it show on the outside. Don’t keep it a secret. Focus first on your own obedience to Christ, not on the failings of others. Be willing to sweetly tell others what makes you so hopeful and contented.
A few weeks ago I mentioned the Pastor J. B. Phillips. Are you aware he wrote a translation of the New Testament? The following is a passage from it.
After all, who in the ordinary way is likely to injure you for being enthusiastic for good? And if it should happen that you suffer “for righteousness’ sake”, that is a privilege. You need neither fear their threats nor worry about them; simply concentrate on being completely devoted to Christ in your hearts. Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you. Make sure that your conscience is perfectly clear, so that if men should speak slanderously of you as rogues they may come to feel ashamed of themselves for libelling your good Christian behaviour.1 Peter 3:14-16 J. B. Phillips New Testament
As part of His flock we have so much to be grateful for and so much to learn! “Ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer … for the reason for the hope you have within you.”
Are you ready?