God’s Sheepdogs

Psalm 32

The words of Psalm 23 are very familiar to all of us. Yet, unless we read that psalm through the eyes of a sheep, we will miss its magnificent message. Remember how it concludes? “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (KJV).

Think of goodness and mercy as God’s sheepdogs. They stay with us, close by our side, “all the days of our lives.” And what helpful companions they are!

The ancient Hebrews had one word they used most often for mercy: chesed, pronounced “kesed.” It is frequently translated “kindness” and “lovingkindness.” While grazing through the Old Testament this past week, I found no less than five different “miseries” to which mercy brings needed relief.

When we’re suffering the pain of unfair and unjust consequences(Gen. 39:21–23). Joseph, when dumped into a dungeon because of a false accusation, was given chesed—divine relief. It relieved him of the misery of bitterness, the companion of unfair treatment.

When we’re enduring the grief of a death (Ruth 1:8–9). Shortly after the premature deaths of her sons, Naomi asks the Lord to grant her grieving daughters-in-law chesed. God not only gives “dying grace.” He also provides “grieving mercy,” which relieves us of the misery of anger in the backwash of our accepting the loss of a loved one.

When we’re struggling with the limitations of a handicap (2 Sam. 9). David extended chesed to Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan, and provided him a place at the king’s table for the rest of his days. Mercy relieves the misery of self-pity that often accompanies a handicap.

When we are hurting physically (Job 10:12). The Lord gave chesed to Job, which strengthened him to go on during his days of intense pain. Divine relief removes the misery of hopelessness that would otherwise overwhelm us in times of great affliction.

When we are under a cloud of guilt after we have committed a transgression.Psalms 32 and 51 both speak of David’s gratitude for chesed after the Bathsheba affair. His sin was not only forgiven, his guilt was taken away. In His mercy and lovingkindness, God relieves the misery of guilt . . . the lingering sting of wrongdoing.

No unfair consequence is too extreme for mercy. No grief too deep. No handicap too debilitating. No pain too excruciating. No sin too shameful.

Sheep are often in need, so mercy, our faithful companion, stays near.

“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea” (Frederick W. Faber).

Goodness and mercy are God's sheepdogs, staying close by our side "all the days of our lives."

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com

Posted in Encouragement & Healing and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.

ఖచ్చితత్వం, స్పష్టత మరియు ఆచరణాత్మకత అన్నీ చార్లెస్ ఆర్. స్విన్డాల్ యొక్క బైబిల్-బోధనా పరిచర్యను వివరిస్తాయి. చక్ ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ కు బోర్డు ఛైర్మన్ మరియు డల్లాస్ థియోలాజికల్ సెమినరీకి ఛాన్సలర్. చక్ టెక్సాస్‌లోని ఫ్రిస్కోలోని స్టోన్‌బ్రయర్ కమ్యూనిటీ చర్చ్ యొక్క సీనియర్ పాస్టర్‌గా కూడా పనిచేస్తున్నారు, అక్కడ ఆయన చాలా ఇష్టపడేదాన్ని చేయగలుగుతున్నాడు-ఇష్టపడే హృదయాలకు బైబిల్ నేర్పిస్తున్నారు. ఆచరణాత్మక బైబిల్ అనువర్తనంపై ఆయన దృష్టి 1979 నుండి ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ రేడియో ప్రసారంలో వినబడుచున్నది.