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Picture Scripture: Week 4- Sheep (downcast, dispirited)

Picture: Sheep (downcast, dispirited)

Scripture: Psalm 38:6-10; Matthew 9:36; Psalm 42:5-11

Read and then meditate or journal anything that speaks to you.

As we picture sheep being downcast, there is something interesting you may want to be aware of. In his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller explains how “sheep

are built in such a way that if they fall over on their side and then onto their back, it is very difficult for them to get up again. They flail their legs in the air, bleat, and cry. After a few hours on their backs, gas begins to collect in their stomachs, the stomach hardens, the air passage is cut off, and the sheep will eventually suffocate. This is referred to as a “cast down” position. When a shepherd restores a cast down sheep, he reassures it, massages its legs to restore circulation, gently turns the sheep over, lifts it up, and holds it so it can regain its equilibrium. What a picture of what God wants to do for us! When we are on our backs, flailing because of guilt, grief, or grudges, our loving Shepherd reassures us with His grace, lifts us up, and holds us until we’ve gained our spiritual equilibrium.”

I have many examples of times that I have literally been on the ground, like a downcast or dispirited sheep. I was longing for the Lord…in times of mourning, desperation for answered prayers, relief from pain, forgiveness of sins, etc. God has always been there to get me back on my feet and led me to green pastures. Today, reflect on those “suffocating” times you may have experienced and cry out to your compassionate Shepherd in thanksgiving for His saving grace or in anticipation of restoration and healing. He is there for each and everyone of His sheep.

Dear Father,

Today, I turn to you in thanksgiving for your compassion when I feel weary, worn out, confused or helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Even as I start my day today, I’m surrounded by a lot of little decisions, needs, conflicts, unfinished projects, and circumstances outside of my control, all which tend to weigh me down. I want to focus on you as my Shepherd who always knows just what I need to get back on my feet. And, thank you for being a Shepherd who doesn’t shame the outcast. Instead, you pursue them, provide for them, and comfort them. You comfort me in my times of pain, guilt, grief, trials and tribulations! It feels good knowing that You run towards us all the time, not with a scowling face and tone, but rather with a compassionate heart, guiding Words and extended arms to hold us. Thank you, Good Shepherd!!

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen