Mixed Metaphors – John 10:1-18

Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them…. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming…. “ (John 10:7-12, CSB)

When we read John 10 it almost seems like Jesus is mixing His metaphors. First, He says He is the gate for the sheep. Next, He says He is the good shepherd. Then, He says He is not the hired hand that looks after the sheep.

Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus portrayed Himself and His ministry with a number of analogies:

  • I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).
  • “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).
  • “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
  • “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
  • “I am the true vine” (John 15:1, 5).
  • “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). While not an analogy, it is a play on words that the Jews clearly understood in which Jesus equates Himself with the “I AM” title God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14.
Continue reading

God Is Good! All The Time? – Nahum 1:1-8

God-is-Good-All-the-Time“The Lord is good, a haven in a day of distress. He acknowledges those who take refuge in him. With a rushing flood, he will utterly destroy her place and pursue his enemies into darkness” (Nahum 1:7-8, CEB).

Nahum prophesied during a time when Judah was attempting to gain independence from its Assyrian overlords. His prophecy foretold the destruction of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.

Nahum begins his prophecy on the downfall of Assyria by laying a theological framework describing the character of God. In verse 1 Nahum says God is jealous and vengeful, full of wrath, and rages against His enemies. He says that although God is great in power, God is calculating  and severe when administering justice: “Who can stand before his indignation? Who can confront the heat of his fury?” (vs 6).

Continue reading

God Is Thinking About You – Psalm 139

Thinker-B&W“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT).

It’s hard to imagine that the Creator of the universe, our Heavenly Father, thinks about me! After all, doesn’t He have a universe to manage?

This Psalm assures us that not only does God think about each one of us constantly, but:

    Continue reading

Totally Praiseworthy – Psalm 103

praiseworthy“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me” (Psalm 103: 1-2, NLT).

This psalm of David celebrates God’s perfection, compassion, forgiveness, and goodness. The structure of the psalm is an acrostic poem with one verse for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

Continue reading

Pursued By Love – Psalm 23

ShepherdandSheep“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever” (vs. 6).

This well-known psalm of David describes how God watches over and cares for His people like a shepherd for his sheep.

It was a common analogy for people in this culture in David’s time to view rulers as shepherds. But the Psalmist raises the stakes with his analogy by declaring that the Lord not only watches over and cares for His flock, but He also pursues them with His unfailing love.

Continue reading

The Fury of God’s Salvation – Psalm 18:1,3,6,16

GodRescues“I love you, Lord; you are my strength…I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,and he saved me from my enemies…But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears…He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters” (Psalm 18:1,3,6,16, NLT).

This psalm describes how God will move heaven and earth to save those who love Him. David, the psalmist, entitled this as a song to the Lord when He rescued David from Saul and all his enemies.

The psalm first expressed David’s love for God and his assurance that God was His protector. When David called out to God for help, God heard him from His sanctuary in heaven where He resides and rushed to his aid.

Continue reading

Tears in a Bottle – Psalm 56:8-9

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!” (Psalm 56:8-9, NLT)

Did you ever play games as a child that required the choosing of “sides?”

A “side” was one of two or more contesting groups or teams. A captain would be selected or appointed for each “side” and each captain then would choose others to be on his or her side.

Of course, sides were chosen strategically so that a winning team would be assembled, or so all of one’s best friends were on the same side!

The psalmist declares that he has assembled a winning team that can defeat his enemies because God is on his side.

Take a moment to savor the word picture the psalmist portrays in these verses.

Continue reading

Who’s Looking Out For You? – Psalms 4:6-8

“Many people say, Who will show us better times? Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalms 4:6-8, NLT).

Psalm 4 is actually a lament that includes a plea for rescue, a rebuke of the ungodly, some good advice for godliness, and then concludes with these verses, which are an expression of confidence in God.

In this psalm of David he observed that in times of trouble, people prayed to God to send His blessings and make things better for them.

But David found fulfillment in God Himself, not just His blessings.

In fact, God had given him greater joy than those who lived in prosperity.

He had happiness and joy always because God was looking out for him!

He was at peace and didn’t stay awake at night worrying because he knew that God had his back!

You can have joy when you find fulfillment in God,
     when you trust in Him and live for Him,
           then you can be confident that God is greater than your troubles,
                because God is looking out for you!

You can have joy and peace even in times of trouble by replacing your worry with expressions of confidence in God’s watchfulness over your life through praise and thanksgiving.

Who’s looking out for you? God is!

“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life” (Psalm 121:7, NLT)