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No. 155
From Wendy Howard [Editor of Despatch magazine], Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia.
Access Online

Getting to know God together.

Patrick’s granny, he called her Grammy, had taught him a lot about the twenty third Psalm. In fact he had learned the whole psalm by heart. It was on the wall in Grammy’s house, in cross-stitch, under glass. She had made it herself, carefully sewing in all the words with lovely coloured threads. Pat was rather pleased with himself that he could recite Psalm 23.  It meant a lot to him.

One night Patrick went to boys’ club. A friend’s parents, the Martins, dropped the boys off at the hall together. After the meeting was over Pat found to his surprise that the Martin’s car drove off without him! He saw Ron Martin get in, and then the car left. Lights were out by the time Pat got back from the car park, everyone had gone home. It was very dark at the hall, and there was no ‘phone box that he could see anywhere. Patrick realised he would have to walk in the dark across the train tracks and into town. So off he went, no use in waiting around and moaning about it. He could see some rough looking teenagers hanging around the train track under a light, drinking from beer bottles. For one horrible moment Patrick panicked! He was suddenly awfully scared!

As Pat walked through that dark night to find a ‘phone and ring home he thought of the words of the twenty third Psalm. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..”  It was so comforting to know Jesus was leading the way across the train track, and into town. He recited the whole psalm to himself, it helped him calm down and trust God to look after him. The best part was “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  Those words made Pat feel so safe. Jesus and all His power was there to protect him. The drunken louts let him pass without much trouble at all. Someone yelled, "where are you going little fellow? Cat got your tongue?" But that was all, and soon he found a telephone in town and asked Dad to pick him up. Pat was sure glad to get in the car that night, and he thanked God for caring for him. It was all a mix up, the Martins had thought Dad had come for Pat earlier in the evening.

There are lots of places in the Bible where the Lord Jesus is called our “Shepherd.” Have a look at John 10:11-15.  What are the Lord’s “rod and staff?”
 In the Old Testament times the “rod” was used by a shepherd to make sure every sheep was safe at night. The sheep would have to pass under the rod to be counted when they were going into the sheep fold. The shepherd knew all the sheep by name! If any were missing then the shepherd would go out in the dark and get the lost one back home safely. The “staff” was a special stick which was used to beat down the bushes where the flock wandered, to make sure no dangerous reptiles were lurking there. The staff would help pull a sheep out of a bog, or pull it out if it got stuck in some thorns. Can you see why God tells us about the Lord’s “rod and staff?” Well, they speak of the Lord’s care for us, how he knows about where we are and how safe we are. It shows that the Good Shepherd will get us out of trouble and keep us safe from evil things. Our Shepherd goes before us and makes the path safe. We must follow Him because He knows best.

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight...”  (Hebrews 13:20,21).

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