♣ All Your Days
“Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life” – Genesis 47:9
“…the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day…” – Genesis 48:15
DESPITE THE MANY years of affliction throughout Jacob’s life, God was still the Shepherd of his soul. How seemingly contrary to what Psalm 23 depicts. The very psalmist who penned those words was often heavily met with adversity, but that in no way contradicts what he encountered as a sheep under the Lord’s deepest care.
Following the Shepherd is not always serene and yet some make the mistake of thinking that the Christian life is perpetually beside the still waters and that everything is vibrantly green, inducing never-ending rest. Few know the Shepherd Who breaks the self-willed soul to make it truly His own. Few know His rod of correction and discipline that brings true comfort; He wounds to heal; His brings us low in order to raise us high; the valleys are the way to the mountains heights.
What a faithful Shepherd we have Who truly leads us in the paths of His righteousness. We already have Christ’s imputed righteousness, but His imparted righteousness is learned in the sorrows of the night and the fires of refining. There in the fires of losing our life for His sake do we gain true life; in fires of self-denial will we know Christ’s life in abundance; only as we embrace God’s will for our lives, even though the cross we carry feels cruel, will we encounter joy inexpressible.
“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honour and comfort me once more” (Psalm 71:20-21 of which David is believed to be the author) – “Troubles, many and bitter” – we find such identical truths recapitulated here: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).
In the bad as well as the good days, the Lord is your Shepherd; through all of your years He will faithfully guide you, despite whether or not you feel Him near or far. Even in the long seasons of the night where you may be inclined to question His ownership of you and your prerogative to call Him “my Shepherd”, His covenant remains as firm as the impossibility for Him to lie; despite the felt presence of sin’s power within and that left to yourself you would even forsake the Lord, His mercy and goodness shall pursue you. Not even the strongest of devils will take you out of His hands. Neither will sin have dominion over you for you are under the rod of His protection and correction and under the staff of His grace that ensures the spiritual health of your soul.
These bitter years of yours have been a mercy, for without them you would have wandered long ago from the Fountain of life; without them you would never have been brought close to the Shepherd’s side.
Here is no cause for complacency or the excuse to continue on in sin. On the contrary, this should break and soften your heart with overflowing gratitude and renewed confidence and commitment to your Shepherd. Go and pour out your heart to Him.