Softly With the Lambs

Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. Genesis 33:14 KJV

I love the scene from The Chosen, when Jacob’s sons are digging a well and a neighbor comes over to tell them they probably won’t find any water and then falls into a conversation with Jacob about God. You see no one had ever heard of the God of Israel because Jacob’s name had only recently been changed to Israel. So, the neighbor begins to ask what kind of god Jacob served. First, Jacob begins explaining that God created the universe, that He is invisible and that they do not have a statue of Him anywhere. But as their talk is coming to an end Jacob adds, “Oh yes and He broke my hip!”  Now I personally have always found that fact pretty curious. Why would God do that? Maybe the Bible answers that question in this scene from the day after the hip breaking. Jacob had come to meet with his brother Esau and is both astonished and grateful for the mercy he encounters. And when I came to today’s verse I simply thought that Jacob was again dealing in half truth’s when he told his brother to go on ahead. But then I remembered why Jacob had to follow slowly. God had put his hip out of joint and we are told that Jacob walked with a limp because of that for the rest of his life.

Do you feel like God has broken your hip? Does it seem that other people can hurry ahead to do all kinds of exciting things, but your disability holds you back? But just as God did with Jacob, He has not caused us injury to harm us. Instead, God is teaching us to walk softly with the lambs. You see, all his life Jacob had been running. He always did everything he could to get ahead of everyone else. But after Jacob met with God, he lost his ability to run. God wanted Jacob to walk softly with the lambs, and just in case he forgot, he was given a limp. Every step reminded him to go at the pace that God had chosen. Maybe the limp in your life looks different than Jacob’s but when you struggle with that weakness and pain, remember that God has given us every one of His children a limp and each of us some lambs to care for until we finish our journey home.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Sitting Next to the King

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Psalm 23:5 ESV

We all love the parts of the twenty-third Psalm when God makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. But how do we feel about following Him on the path of righteousness; that lead into the Valley of the Shadow of Death? When the road grows dark, and we hear the howling of wolvers it is tempting to give in to fear, but God’s word gives us three things to give us courage. First, our Shepherd who let us rest in the green pastures and walked us down to the gentle stream is still around when danger comes. He leads us into the valley because we need more than just green pastures and fresh clean water. He knows that only when our faith is tested will it begin to grow. Secondly, in the darkness of the valley, our Good Shepherd teaches us to follow Him, one step at a time. We learn that wherever He has walked, we can safely follow. Whenever He stops to rest, we must also and when He says to pitch our tents, we can trust that His rod and staff will protect us through the night. Finally, and best of all, when we wake in the morning, He leads us to a banqueting table that is waiting for us! There in the middle of the dark valley, He brings us to the same table He sat at on the night when Judas betrayed Him. There He takes the bread and blesses it saying, “This is my body which is given for you.” and then He takes the cup that overflows and tells us, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Then He says to remember every time we receive, that He passed through the Valley first and prepared a table for us there. At that table, no enemy, no problem, or suffering will matter, because there in our darkest valley we will find ourselves at a table sitting right next to the King!

The Good Shepherd’s Staff

The Lord is my Shepherd into deep valleys green
He leads with His staff by a quiet soft stream
But when sin beckons, He tells me to walk
On the straight narrow way through the cleft in the rock

And through the valley of shadows and tears
His rod and His staff comfort all of my fears
When my enemies set up an ambush ahead
He shows me a table where His banquet is spread

Then If I stop to worry about things left undone
His goodness and mercy lead me farther along
With His cross ever guiding like a good shepherd’s staff
We will come to His house when our journey is past!