TITLE: The Shepherd
DATE: January 12, 2020
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: Psalm 23:1 - ESV - The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
East Africa, 1956, a band of Mau Maus came to the village of Lauri and killed everybody... 300 people in all.
3 miles away was the Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school where children were educated while their missionary parents worked elsewhere. After leaving Lauri, the Mau Maus came with spears, clubs, and torches to the school.
You can imagine the fear of the children. Word had already reached them about the destruction of Lauri.
In the night, lighted torches were seen coming toward the school. Soon there was a ring of terrorists around the school. Shouting and curses could be heard coming from the Mau Maus. Then they began to tighten the circle, shouting louder, coming closer. Suddenly, when they were close enough to throw a spear, they began to retreat, and soon they were running into the jungle.
The army eventually captured the entire band of Mau Maus. At their trial, the Mau Mau leader was asked, "Did you kill the inhabitants of Lauri?" "Yes." "Was it your intent to do the same at the Academy?" "Yes." "Why didn't you attack the school?" The leader, who had never read the Bible and never heard about Jesus, said, "We were on our way to attack and destroy all the people at the school. But as we came closer, all of a sudden between us and the school there were many huge men, dressed in white with flaming swords. We became afraid and we ran to hide!"
An impressive story. A true story. An almost unbelievable story...the idea of God sending angels to watch over some children.
Years ago, Jesus fed thousands of people with five loaves and two small fish. The people were impressed at this wonderful miracle which could multiply food so their stomachs could be full. But, how many times had they been fed by God in a more traditional way? How many times had God stopped the hail storms from wiping out their wheat fields...had sent the rains to fill the lakes where the fish lived? When Jesus fed them in a miraculous way they wished to make Him king, but all too often, they never bothered to thank God for the many times that He had faithfully, and quietly, fed them.
We might wish that God would miraculously feed us the way Jesus fed those thousands. But, as I think back, I am forced to admit that I have never been hungry. There have been times when my stomach growled during the middle of a sermon and people all around me looked and I was embarrassed. But I have never been hungry.
Do you understand? God watches over us in miraculous and regular ways. Wherever we find ourselves, God looking like the Shepherd He is, shows He cares.
THE PRAYER: Lord help me realize that nothing can separate me from the love of the Good Shepherd. Especially in times of danger and fear, let me trust Your presence. In Your holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html