Read His Words Before Ours!
I had just finished reading Psalm 132, had written down a portion at the end to memorize, and was tucking my Bible away before the already chaotic morning got even crazier.
It was a sweet psalm, rich with prophecy and promises given to David that have been fulfilled for you and me, with overtones of what is still to come when Christ returns. Here’s part of what I picked to memorize:
“This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.” (Psalm 132:13-15)
God was speaking to David and telling him that God’s presence would dwell in Zion (referring to His chosen people, which for us, translates to believers). The Lord detailed the rich benefits of God’s presence dwelling with His beloved ones.
He would bless her with abundant provisions.
Satisfy her with food.
Clothe her with salvation.
His people would shout with joy!
One of those wonderful, feel-good, sung-over, delighted-in, Jesus-loves-me-this-I-know passages. Sweet and precious.
But, randomly, the kids all left my room in search of breakfast and I remembered I still had a couple chapters left before I finished out the book of Jeremiah. I quickly flipped there knowing I would find more of the prophet’s dire warnings of impending doom and destruction.
I picked up in chapter 50 finding exactly that, but stopped short at verses 6 & 7.
“My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains.
From mountain to hill they have gone.
They have forgotten their fold.
All who found them have devoured them….”
God’s chosen ones…
lost, led astray, wandering aimlessly, hopeless.
Same people group: The Lord’s Beloved Ones.
Two vastly different descriptions.
Those in Jeremiah’s account were no less loved, having the same access to the same Living God, so why does their story end with “all who found them have devoured them” instead of David’s proclamation, “I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread”?
The answer is so simple you may have read it and missed its significance like I did the first time: “They have forgotten their fold.”
As we know, sheep are pretty dumb-by-nature creatures. Without a shepherd to guard and care for them, they will unwittingly get themselves killed.
But they can learn to recognize their shepherd’s voice and trust his lead.
But when there are too many competing voices, when a sheep gets distracted, when other attractive delicacies tempt them, “they forget their fold.”
I know, I know…sheep, shepherds, Old Testament poetry, prophecy, and dead kings….what about my messy kitchen and hurting relationship pressures now?
These two tales…they aren’t long ago, they are the right now! They are my reality and yours.
By nature, you and I serve the Slave Owner, Sin.
In Jesus, we are given over to a new Master, the Lord Jesus, who sets us free from slavery to Sin!
though we no longer have any obligation to obey Sin’s voice,
sometimes, we get distracted.
Sometimes, there are too many voices.
Sometimes our feelings lie and we forget what Truth looks like, what Truth sounds like.
We even forget what it feels like to be safely cocooned in Grace.
So we walk away, like stupid sheep.
We forget who we are.
And we willingly trade the delicacies of the Lord for the dirt of our former Slave Owner.
As I closed out my quiet time, struck anew with my urgent, desperate need to hold onto the truth of the gospel, I grabbed a pen and made a shortlist labeled “My Enemies Today”.
Fear of people’s opinions.
Anxiety for the coming school year.
Worry over finances.
Past emotional triggers.
My need for control.
Oh Lord, my Shepherd, don’t let me “forget my fold” today. Don’t let me be distracted, losing my grip on truth, being devoured by my enemies. Remind me of my victory in You alone.
My Sisters, this is Paul’s urgent message to the Galatians, echoing the same passionate heartbeat of Jeremiah and the Lord Himself to David,
“So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free!” (Galatians 4:31)
Formerly, when you did not know God,
you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.
(ie: our enemies, our rules, our fears)
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God,
how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?!
How could we indeed?!
Please, Sisters, refuse to be a slave today!
Stand firm, be rooted in truth, be wrapped in grace, and delight in the love the song the Lord sings over you, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so….”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!