Thursday, August 4, 2011

Modern Day Shepherds

I was reading through the devotional booklet, "Our Daily Bread." The meditation for the day included Psalm 66.  It is a Psalm of praise for God's answer to prayer. Two verses that stood out to me were verses 5 and 16. "Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man's behalf! (v.5)  "Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me." (v.16) italics mine. From there I moved on to my contemplative vision book where I have been meditating on Christian works of art. The painting for the focus of the meditation was by an artist named Nicolas Poussin. His painting is entitled "The Adoration of the Shepherds." The accompanying Scripture text for meditation was Luke 2:8-20 where the angels announce Christ's birth to the shepherds in the field. I have read that passage many times as I'm sure most of us have at some point in time. You may have even heard a sermon or two on the passage. What struck me this time around is how God linked this passage together with the two verses from Psalm 66. The passages from Luke and the Psalms all pointing me to Christ. In the Luke 2 passage my eyes were drawn to all the references of seeing and hearing. The shepherd were keeping watch over their flocks by night. (Luke 2:8) Luke is pointing out how the shepherds awareness and openness to what was around them was already heightened. Then they saw the glory of the Lord and the angel messenger. (v.9) The shepherds heard the news from the angel (vv.10-11) which dovetails with Psalm 66:5, an invitation to "come and see what God has done on man's behalf." The shepherds were given a clue as to what to look for when they arrived at the manger. (v.12) Then they heard the multitude of angels praising God (vv.13-14) which dovetails with first half of Psalm 66:16 to "come and listen all who fear God. The shepherds go to the manger and see Jesus, then follow up with telling others what they had witnessed (vv.15-17) which dovetails with the second part of Psalm 66:16, "Let me tell you what He has done for me." The narrative in Luke continues with the amazement of all who heard the shepherds message and Mary's reaction. (vv.18-19) The final verse in the passage pulls everything together, "The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been  told." (v.20) God bids us to come and be captured with the wonder of all He has done on our behalf, the greatest of which is giving us His Son. Then like the shepherds we are to listen to His Spirit and go tell everyone what He has done for us. 
Be Blessed!
Pastor Sheree

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