The ground looks parched. The terrain looks wind scratched and the wind turbines in the background makes my ear and nose imagine the dusty howl of the warm Santa Anna winds I experienced in California. Unshorn sheep under such a sun need protection. They need relief. Unfortunately, they aren’t very smart. But perhaps they are this smart, when protection is available, they take it.
These sheep look like they have been shorn and now are roaming the field with about two months of growth in their new wooly coat. They have found protection and relief in the shadow of windmill on a barren stretch of land. “We are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand”, says the Psalmist (vs. 7) but I wonder sometimes if we are even as smart as sheep. There is rescue, and protection and relief in the “shadow of his wings” as another hymn writer tells (cf. also Ps. 91:4), but how often do we wander away into barren wastes, dry wadis of despair and discouragment.
Read Psalm 95
Let Us Sing Songs of Praise
Psalm 95 begins with a call to worship and then gives us a number of descriptions of who our God is. He is . . .
“The Rock of our Salvation” (vs. 1)
“the LORD is a great God” (vs. 3)
“a great King above all gods.” ( vs. 3)
the one who holds “the depths of the earth” in his hands (vs. 4)
the one who owns “the mountains” (vs. 4) and “sea . . . for he made it” (vs. 5)
the one who “formed the dry land with hands” (vs. 5)
“the LORD, our Maker” (vs. 6)
“our God” (vs. 7)
But the psalmist also tell us who we are in relationship to this great God.
We are the ones who sing of him as LORD. (vs. 1)
We are the ones who worship him (vs. 6)
We are the ones who bow and kneel before him (vs. 6)
We are the people of his pasture (vs. 7)
We are the sheep of his hand (vs. 7)
We are the ones who can hear his voice (vs. 7) and soberingly,
We are the ones who can harden our hearts to that voice (vs. 8)
We are the ones who can put God to the test (vs. 9)
We are a people who can go astray in our hearts (vs. 10)
And because of who he is and who we are in relationship to him, we sing our praises with passion because we know our need. Turns out knowing your need is a fantastic fuel for worship.
It was verses 8, 9, and 10 that grabbed my attention.
Israel, the people of God, the people with so much privilege, the people who knew God, the people of the promise, could harden their hearts, could put God to the test, could go astray in their hearts.
That sobers me. Could I do the same?
Could I Turn Away from Love?
Could I turn away from Love?
Is that possible?
Could I walk away from Perfection?
Could my life be squandered and corrupted
after all these years?
Is it really possible for me to move astray from the Truth?
Could I stumble into a wasted life and meaningless days?
Could I harden my heart,
become brittle and stoney, after being gifted a heart of flesh?
Could I lose my way and wander in darkness?
Could I pivot from reality and abandon my first love?
Could Your love lose its power?
Could I forget the wonders of Your sacrifice?
Could I fail to be mesmerized by the price that was paid?
Don’t let it happen Lord!
Wrap me up in your arms.
Bind me with shackles.
I want no freedom.
I want only to be a sheep of Your pasture.
I want only the hand you extend.
Pierce my ear and make me Your bondservant
Go to Psalm 96