You might say he had one job – watch over the sheep. You might call him a baby sitter of four legged creatures. Sounds pretty simple. And in Psalm 23.2, he made them lie down in green pastures, he leads them beside still waters. As life goes, the sheep have it pretty good – rest, food, refreshing water. It sounds like a sweet life.
But sheep are wandering creatures. They roam around, and the next thing you know, they have strayed away from the flock and are lost. They may not even realize they are lost, but they are. So the good shepherd will secure the rest of the flock and come searching for the lost lamb and bring it back to where it is supposed to be. And he does this over and over for all his sheep. Not so easy a job after all.
And as if playing lost and found with straying sheep isn’t enough, he also has to take care of them when they get hurt or injured. Baby sitter, provider, seeker of the lost, and now, he has to be a doctor.
And in all of this, he is building up the sheep’s individual strength and the strength of the whole flock. So now he has to be a personal trainer to the sheep too. His job is not so easy.
In Psalm 23.3, we see that the shepherd … he restores our soul. Four simple words, only two words in the Hebrew. But wow.
- He – our shepherd, our Lord, the God who loves and saves us
- Restores – he renews, invigorates, empowers, brings life back to
- Our – as individuals and as a flock, the ones prone to wander, prone to stray, fragile and wounded, and weary and worn
- Soul – our nephesh … the very seat of our emotion, the heart of our desires, the core to our way of thinking and understanding … our life and all we are
He … Restores … Our … Soul
We have seen three ways this babysitter of sheep restores the souls of his sheep, or more clearly, how our Lord restores our soul …
- He brings back the wanderers – he never leaves us to our straying, he never forgets or loses even one of us, we can never get outside of his love and care – he will bring us back
- He binds up the wounded – in our hurts, pains, sorrows, brokenness, wounds (self inflicted or inflicted by others), and injuries, he will care for us, tend the wounds, heal our sickness – he will bind us up
- He builds up the weak – he helps us get stronger and draws us closer together
Which of these do you need from our shepherd today? Are you wandering? Wounded? Weary? Do you need to come home, find restoration? Our Lord is the good shepherd and he can restore your very soul.
It is the Good Shepherd, then, who in restoring our souls – brings back the wanderer, binds up the wounded, and builds up the weak.
I am so glad I have that shepherd. Are you?