In church this Sunday, we sang the hymn I Was a Wandering Sheep. This song really struck me. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since then. My pastor completed his series on Psalm 119 this morning, and has mentioned several times that the Psalm shows us what true piety is. Throughout the Psalm, the psalmist gives us a good example to follow. In the first below, he says that he does not forget the Lord’s commandments. Do we forget them?
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.”
We are like sheep. We have gone astray so many more times than we can count. (Isaiah 53:6) So many times on a day to day basis do I find myself needing to course correct.
Here are the first two verses.
1 I was a wandering sheep,
I did not love the fold;
I did not love my Shepherd’s voice,
I would not be controlled.
I was a wayward child,
I did not love my home;
I did not love my Father’s voice,
I loved afar to roam.
2 The Shepherd sought His sheep,
The Father sought His child;
They followed me o’er vale and hill,
O’er deserts waste and wild:
They found me nigh to death,
Famished and faint and lone;
They bound me with the bands of love,
They saved the wandering one.
This song hit a little too close to home for me, you know? So often I find myself straying, not wanting to be controlled. Loving sin and roaming from the fold of God…
The first verse left a bad taste in my mouth. Because, let’s be honest, nobody likes being convicted.
Then this song finishes the story.
Jesus my Shepherd is;
‘Twas He that loved my soul,
‘Twas He that washed me in His blood,
‘Twas He that made me whole;
‘Twas He that sought the lost,
That found the wandering sheep,
‘Twas He that brought me to the fold,
‘Tis He that still doth keep.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…”
Earlier today, I talked with some young kids (preschool-ish) at my church about fear in Sunday School. We drew pictures of what scared us, and talked about how God gives us courage to face our fear, and how He will always strengthen us and help us do what’s right, even when afraid. Many of them were scared of the same things, like the dark. I’ll be honest, I’m terrified of the dark, or, I guess a more accurate way to put it is that I’m afraid of what might be hiding in the dark.
This afternoon, I was thinking about how easy it would be not to be afraid if I memorized more scripture. That way, I could say the verse(s) while in fear. God promises that he will never leave us or forsake us, and the scripture is full of encouraging and powerful verses that have helped so many people while in fear.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Excerpts from Psalm 91
“He who dwells in the shadow of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. . . .For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. . . . “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”
What strengthens you when you are afraid? What are you afraid of? How does God help you face your fear?
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;[a]
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!”
Psalm 86: 8~12
“‘There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.'”
This is part of a prayer of David’s. “For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.” God indeed does wondrous things. Think about it: How did you take the very breath you just took? How are babies born? Look at the trees; the rain; the ocean: how were they made? The Only God, the maker of the heavens and the earth, is the only reason we can breath, be born, swim, sing, have children, plant food, and so many more awesome things that we don’t think about. He Alone is God, there is none like him. Awesome, Mighty, Everlasting, Merciful, Gracious, Perfect, Loving, Undying, Awesome, awesome God. His love never fails. And that is why, no matter what; even in difficult times; during tornadoes, hurricanes, times of death, sickness; we should give thanks to him, thanking him for food, shelter, families, but most of all: His Sovereign Grace and Mercy to us. That is the reason why we gather with His People on Sundays: To worship Him. Great is the Lord, and Greatly to be praised. Amen.