These wonderful words are from Hebrews 13v20 and link back to that glorious song of praise, Psalm 23, that we read and thought about at yesterday’s thanksgiving service for Sid. I may have mentioned it before but I was particularly struck by Tom Wright’s comments on this Psalm in his ‘Lent for everyone’ book which many of us enjoyed reading through recently. He talks about the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, going ahead of us into the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death where “His rod and His staff, two poles of wood, come together in a new pattern, a shape which will etch itself on the heart of the world. We look at the cross and we are comforted”.
We considered yesterday that, the other side of this valley, includes a banquet table prepared for us, overflowing joy and the goodness and love (mercy) of God with us as we ultimately dwell in the Lord’s house for ever. All this is true because “The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10v11).
This is all now Sid’s experience and one day it will be ours too, so long as “The Lord is my shepherd”. But we can and should enjoy a foretaste of such things here and now – the Lord’s provision and presence even when surrounded by many who may mock and despise us, the joy of the Lord truly being our strength and the Good Shepherd’s two faithful sheepdogs – Goodness and Mercy – encouraging, protecting and leading us safely into heaven’s fold.
Peace and Grace