Monday, April 22, 2013

Does the Good Shepherd Have a Sheepdog?

I think He does!  The great Psalm 23 begins, "The Lord is my shepherd," and, "He leadeth me."  He is out in front leading the sheep.  One can hear the voice of Jesus, "Follow Me."

But then the last verse of the psalm points to something bringing up the rear: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Now imagine my surprise when I learned that the Hebrew word for "follow" can mean "to pursue, to dog (!), or to attend closely."  It's a perfect and even literal job description of a sheepdog!

There could be two sheepdogs, the one named Goodness and the other Mercy.  But I prefer to see only one, and his name is Goody (for goodness and mercy).  And I say that because God's goodness is really His mercy - not two different things.

He is the rear guard of the flock.  Who knows the trouble or thickets I would get into were it not for Goody's tending, guarding, and driving me to follow my Shepherd?  I would constantly fall back on my own righteousness instead of Christ's.  Or on my sins instead of His death.  Or on my death instead of His resurrection.  My fear instead of His peace.

We have a Good Shepherd who leads, and is, the way to heaven.  And He has the best sheepdog ever, Goody, who sees to it that we follow as we should - in faith.