And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8 KJV
When I briefly worked from 11pm till 6 am, I found myself suddenly a part of an exclusive group of people who only see the world from mid-night till dawn. On the night that Jesus was born, just above Bethlehem were shepherds who were the third shift workers of their day. The more important shepherds got the first shift jobs. But in the darkness of that night, those unnamed and seemingly unimportant third shift shepherds were about to become the first people on earth to hear the good news of Jesus Christ! That message was that God had remembered His people, He remembered Bethlehem and He even remembered shepherds whom everyone else had forgotten.
Did you ever stop to think that God also remembers you? He is not satisfied to visit only the better homes in the better neighborhoods with the biggest churches with their beautiful appearances. Just as the shepherds were watching their flocks at night so God watches over us when we are going through the darkest moments of our lives. He knows right where we are. He hears us and He still sends angels with His message of good news. There is no better place than right where you are to hear the news; that Jesus Christ came to bring hope and salvation to us all: even to third shift shepherds out in their fields at night!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song: he has become my salvation. Psalms 118:13-14 ESV
“Are you sure you can do this?” Mike yelled over the sound of the rushing stream.
“No problem, I’ve got confidence!” I shouted back as I finished cutting the trunk of the tree that had fallen in the water. But as the saw sliced through the last inch of bark I realized too late that my calculation was terribly wrong. In a moment I was catapulted head over heels with the running chain saw still in my hand. Mercifully, the saw flew away from my body and I landed chest deep in freezing water. I was embarrassed and unhurt but on the other side of the stream my friend Mike was doubled over in laughter. “I’ve got confidence! I’ve got confidence!” he kept repeating, between peals of uncontrollable laughter!
My problem was not lack of confidence, but that I didn’t think I needed any help. There I was catapulting through the air until God caught me. He was a friend standing by that stream ready to rescue and He will not laugh when we mess up. (Though I sometimes wonder if He chuckles). God promises to be our strength when we ask for help – our song when He gives it and our salvation, when we learn to put our confidence only in Him!
You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Psalm 18:35 ESV
While the ESV gives us the picture of a Mighty God who is gently on our side, the old NIV renders that same phrase as, “He stopped low. Like Gandalf entering through a Hobbit doorway, in the Lord of the Rings, Jesus had to bend low enough to enter our world through the stable doorway in Bethlehem. He went to begging blind men, destitute widows and outcast lepers. Jesus had compassion on hungry listeners and washed the dirty feet of disciples. Jesus’ right hand was both gentle enough to bless a child and strong enough to lift a paralyzed man to His feet.
And when His time came He carried the weight of His cross to the top of Golgotha where those gentle hands were nailed to the wood. Then as He stooped His lowest in death, Jesus reached lower still as we were falling deep into our sins, and caught us, raised us up and gave us the greatness of His salvation. Oh how mighty and gentle is our Jesus! He gently stooped low enough to save us and then shared His greatness with His children!