The Shelter, Shadow and Shepherd
Jesus never imposed his will, virtues, or ethics on anyone. He presented Himself, along with the offer of abundant life and freedom made possible by abiding in the truth He offers. We have an invitation from Almighty God, our heavenly Father, to live in His shadow and His shelter while following the Lord, who is our Shepherd.Refusing this invitation is like shouting, “Bring on the consequences!”
Why would anyone refuse a certain cure, wise counsel, a shelter from every storm, and a shadow revealing close proximity to the Father? Why would anyone reject the secure oversight and direction of the most wonderful Shepherd? Proverbs teaches when we do not lean on our own understanding but trust in the Lord, He offers healing for our lives, our souls, and our land. He also promises that our “barns will be filled with plenty,” implying economic security, opportunity, and limitless possibilities including the ability to bless others.
Isaiah said a “donkey and an ox know their master, but God’s own people refuse to know Him.” As a result, they do not discover the way of life. God invited the people to come and reason together, promising that though their sins were red like scarlet, they would become clean—as white as snow. He offered forgiveness to those whose hands were covered with the blood of the innocent. Over 50 million precious, helpless little lives have been taken in the womb of their mother right here in America. There is a fierce assault on the sacredness of marriage and family by those who promote immorality as an acceptable way of life. Expressions of faith along with any reference to God or Jesus in the public arena are consistently attacked with organized efforts to limit the Christian witness. However, even in the face of foolish, arrogant rebellion, God lovingly offers forgiveness and mercy, if only people will seek Him with all their heart. Men and women who refuse to reason with God will prove to be unreasonable and unable to reason among themselves. Dissension, strife, anger, hatred, and division will prevail with no healing for the wounds in our personal or national life. God’s call and invitation delivered by the prophets is not just to Israel, but to all people and all nations.
History confirms individuals and nations reap the results of their choices, often referred to as the “law of cause and effect.” The Bible declares we “reap what we sow.” Both the Old and New Testaments reveal the consequences of bad choices and evil practices.
It is important to consider the invitation Jesus offered Jerusalem in the face of total destruction. It was not just a call to turn from evil and its frightening consequences, but to also run to a power source that will protect us and enable us to live with no fear, no evil. Therefore, although we run from awful, catastrophic consequences, we are actually running to an unshakable shelter from any storm and safety in our Father’s shadow following a Shepherd who knows how we must be led. How foolish to refuse this glorious invitation!
Surely you can see what is happening in America. How can we find the best leaders when we reject the shelter and shadow of Almighty God, continually refusing to follow the Shepherd—the very one best able to lead us? According to the 23rd Psalm, consider where the good Shepherd leads those who follow Him. They will not live in want with legitimate needs and desires unmet. Because He meets our needs when we follow Him, we can rejoice together while also helping to meet the needs of others. We are glad to be our brother’s keeper and a helper to those who suffer. He makes us rest in green pastures with His provision all around us. God loves to bless everyone, and in His presence are blessings and true pleasures forevermore. Peace prevails even in the valley of death’s dark shadow. He calms the greatest storms and stills the most troubled water. He will lead us in the paths of His righteousness for His name’s sake.
The Shepherd delivers us from mere religious pretense and repulsive self-righteousness. His rod of correction and protection provide indescribable comfort. He faithfully prepares a table before us in the presence of all enemies and accusers while the anointing on Him also flows over us, enabling us to live in supernatural peace. The goodness and mercy of God follows us all the days of our lives as we follow the Shepherd and discover the reality of dwelling in the presence of God, living in His shelter and shadow in this lifetime and forever.
This is the glorious invitation our Father God is offering every believer. It is also offered to any person who will come and drink freely of the water of life, allowing themselves to be washed in the water of His word, cleansed by the power of His truth prevailing in individual lives and in our land. The awakened church and committed Christians will begin to reveal Christ in the fullness of His transforming power and once again America can become one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. What a prayer, what a pursuit, and what a glorious invitation from a wonderful God and Savior!