Something to Think About #4

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 esv
Ancient Sheepfold in Isreal

When I read a scripture like this one, I immediately think; “Shepherd language.” This prompts me to think as the ancients did: God is the Great Shepherd (Psalm 23… “The Lord is my Shepherd”). So I become the sheep for this reflection.

The word in this passage translated as abide actually has a deeper root meaning. It means to lodge or to pass the night. A sheepfold such as the ancient one shown above is a place where sheep would be guided to spend the night. Notice it has a stone wall to keep sheep in, and intruders out. It is a place of sanctuary against my potential self-inflicted and external dangers.

The word shelter has a Hebrew word that has three meanings or uses; covering, hiding place, and secret place (aka womb). The sheepfold has a cavelike covering that keeps sheep covered from the elements. When packed in with fellow sheep, it is also a warm place almost reaching body temperature. What a wonderful place to be developed and nurtured.

One more word that may not seem like Shepherd language is the shadow. In English it almost sounds foreboding when it speaks of being in the shadow of the Almighty, but the Hebrew root is much deeper. The word actually means protection.

I am starting to see a theme here: You and I can dwell Together under the special, warm, and nurturing coverage of the Most High, and even in the dark nights of life we can be under the protection of the Great Shepherd.

Finally, we turn to the teachings of the Master in the Gospel of John. He tells his disciples that he is the Good Shepherd and the Sheepfold Gate (just like the picture). And he promised and delivered that as the Shepherd he would lay down his life for us.

Prayer: O Lord, thank you for being our Great Shepherd! May we know your voice and and follow you and enjoy your loving and nurturing protection. Thank you for laying down your life for us in selfless love!

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