The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
by Anne Baxter Campbell
The shepherds played an important part in life during Biblical times. The Hebrews (and others) depended on sheep for clothing, meat, milk, cheese, and income. And, of course, with sheep come shepherds.
Without a shepherd, sheep get into all kinds of trouble. Is it any wonder the Bible so often compares people to sheep?
Sheep tend to follow a leader. Wherever the leader goes, the rest will follow, even over a cliff. Sound familiar?
Sheep will eat grass down to the root, and unless they are moved from that spot to another they will run out of food. How often do we take a stand on one spot and refuse to move, even if it kills us?
Sheep ruminate. Okay, in animals, that’s more often called chewing the cud. In people, we call it reminiscing, dwelling on the past. We do that too, don’t we?
A good shepherd knows his sheep. He knows where to lead them, where the grass is plentiful and the water potable. Jesus, our Good Shepherd knows where to take us, but we have to be willing to be led. Unlike a shepherd of sheep, He doesn’t force people to follow.
A good shepherd will lead his sheep on to another place when the grass is running out. For those of us who have lost jobs or homes or family, the moving on is painful. But trust Him. Jesus knows where there is more green grass. Follow Him.
A good shepherd allows his sheep to ruminate, protecting them from predators or disturbances to allow them the time to digest. He knows when it’s okay to lead them on. So it’s okay for us to reminisce–everyone seems to enjoy that on occasion–but don’t get stuck in the past. The future could be scary, but not if you put your hand in the hand of the Man.
Prayer: Lord, we need Your shepherding. You know where the green grass and fresh water are. Help us to trust. Thank You for always being there and for caring enough to lead us to where it’s safe. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
by Anne Baxter Campbell
Centurion Julius has eyes for a young Jewish woman, but a Roman is not what her father intends for her. Miriam is a pious Jewish girl, determined to do the right thing by her God and her parents, and she bows to her father’s wishes to betroth her to a Jewish fisherman, James ben Zebedee. Her heart yearns for the Roman, but their love is impossible. Miriam’s mother lies close to death, and her last wish is to see her daughter wed. The marriage has to take place before it’s too late.
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Anne Baxter Campbell is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves her Lord, her family, and writing. She and her husband, one very small dog, and one overweight cat live in north central California .
Read Anne Baxter Campbell’s great review of A Christmas Promise here.