ODB: Meet Shrek

June 19, 2014 

READ: Ezekiel 34:11-16 

I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. —Ezekiel 34:11 

Shrek was a renegade sheep. He went missing from his flock and remained lost for 6 years. The person who found him living in a cave on a high and rugged place in New Zealand didn’t recognize him as a sheep. “He looked like some biblical creature,” he said. In a way, he was. Shrek was a picture of what happens to sheep who become separated from their shepherd.

Shrek had to be carried down the mountain because his fleece was so heavy (60 lbs or 27 kg) that he couldn’t walk down on his own. To relieve Shrek of the weight of his waywardness, he was turned upside down so that he would remain still and not be harmed when the shearer removed his heavy fleece.

Shrek’s story illustrates the metaphor Jesus used when He called Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), and when God referred to His people as His flock (Ezek. 34:31). Like Shrek, we do not make good choices when we’re on our own, and we become weighed down with the consequences (Ezek. 33:10). To relieve us of the weight, we may have to be on our backs for a time. When we end up in this position, it is good to remain still and trust the Good Shepherd to do His work without hurting us.

— Julie Ackerman Link

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His,
And He is mine forever. —Baker

God’s training is designed to grow us in faith. 

ODB: Broken Bones

March 16, 2013 

READ: Psalm 51:1-13 

Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. —Psalm 51:8 

Years ago, I played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper. It was more fun than I can describe here, but all that fun came at a hefty price—one I continue to pay today. Being a goalie means that you are constantly throwing your body into harm’s way to prevent the other team from scoring, often resulting in injuries. During the course of one season, I suffered a broken leg, several cracked ribs, a separated shoulder, and a concussion! Today, especially on cold days, I am visited by painful reminders of those broken bones.

David also had reminders of broken bones, but his injuries were spiritual, not physical. After David’s moral collapse involving an affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, God firmly disciplined him. But then David turned to Him in repentance and prayed, “Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice” (Ps. 51:8).

God’s chastening was so crushing that David felt like his bones were broken. Yet he trusted that the God of grace could both repair his brokenness and rekindle his joy. In our own failure and sin, it’s a comfort to know that God loves us enough to pursue and restore us with His loving discipline.

— Bill Crowder

Father, open my eyes to see my failings, open my heart
to receive Your discipline, and open my will to embrace
Your loving purposes. When I fall, I pray that You will
make me whole and restore my joy in You.

God’s hand of discipline is a hand of love.