In my Bible reading this past month I came across and passage in the book of Genesis where Israel (Jacob) was thinking back over his life. He was blessing the sons of Joseph when he shared this simple phrase. “God… The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day.” Israel could point all the way back to the womb when the Lord made a prediction about him, His older brother Esau would serve him. God had shepherded him through every area in his life.
At Bethel, he chose to follow God after the dream where God gave him the covenant promise to be with him as He had been with his father and grandfather. From then on God continued to bless him and lead him into places of safety and protection. Israel did not always have it easy. He struggled for 15 plus years with the pain of a son he thought was dead before he learned the truth. He lost a wife to childbirth. He had sons who made terrible choices. He himself made some terrible choices.
Yet looking back over everything he could see how God was shepherding him, leading him, sometimes guiding him with his stick. It was when he trusted God to lead that he prospered most. Just as Israel couldn’t see how his loss of his son Joseph would be made for good, we don’t always understand how God is leading in the moment. It is in those situations that we don’t have the full picture. If fact whenever we are in the middle of things we don’t often have a clear view of what is happening. We have to trust in the leading of our shepherd, our Heavenly Father. And like Israel we will look back on our tough times and see how God as guided.
We may not know how we got through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but when we are in the green pastures and beside the still waters we can thank the Good Shepherd for leading us all the way.
In Christ, Pastor Jeff