A Shepherd's Heart

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“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psalm 17:8)
by GBC Ministry

David is in trouble, but he knows where to go for help.  While men and the trouble they bring seem to have surrounded him, he knows that the Lord is in control, that even his enemies and their tactics are ordered by his Lord, that they are His “sword” and “hand” (vss 13b, 14a), and that he is safe because he is the Lord’s delight, the “apple of His eye.”

 

What is especially useful for us today is the contrast David draws between the wicked and the righteous.  The difference is very stark, is easily observed, and should serve as a provocation to everyone who would serve God acceptably and live blessedly in the Lord.

 

The Word of God tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17a), that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).  In other words, all men, good and evil alike, participate in the “gain,” the external blessings of life, some more than others.  This should make plain then that temporal gain is not the measure of God’s highest blessing.  Temporal gain may be the joy of the unbeliever, but it is not intended to be the foundation for the Believer’s joy, nor the root of the Believer’s praise.  Temporal gain is not to be the characteristic goal of our life.  The goal of the Believer’s life that brings glory to God and peace to him is godliness.

 

But godliness with contentment is great gain.”          1 Timothy 6:6

 

David says the wicked “have their portion in this life.”  Though it is the Lord who fills their belly with His “hid treasures,” they neither sincerely praise nor honor Him for their temporal blessings.  Rather, always in hot pursuit of self-satisfaction, they “have their portion in this life…they are full of children, and leave their substance to their babes” (14).  In other words, their god is Self, and their idol gain.  The Believer is warned against becoming like them:

 

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

1 Timothy 6:3-6

 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

1 John 2:15-17

 

With a firm “As for me,” David sets before us the contrast between these who are driven by self-love, and the Believer who truly loves the Lord with his whole heart, mind, soul and strength:

 

As for me. I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (15)

 

What a blessed determination: to always approach the Lord in sincerity, honesty, truthfulness, i.e., “in righteousness,” for His glory, not personal, selfish gain, and to be satisfied only when his life fully reflects the holiness of his Lord’s.

 

David was rich in both this world’s substance and honor, but it is not the temporal wealth he possessed nor the honor he enjoyed that should attract us to him.  Rather what should attract us, what we should seek to emulate, is the purity of his love for the Lord.  The Lord Himself confirmed David’s love for Him when He described him as “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (1Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).  How wonderful it would be if the Lord could say this of each of us.

 

This world is not our world.  We are pilgrims here for a time, ambassadors given the task of honorably representing the interests, work, and will of our Father who is in heaven.  Consequently, our, that is to say, the Christian’s inheritance is not to be found (or sought) in this earth, or even in the future “new earth” (Revelation 21:1).  The Christian’s inheritance is in Christ, spiritual things, in heaven (Ephesians 1:3), at the right hand of God.  Consequently, we are exhorted

 

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”            Colossians 3:1, 2

 

The apostle John brings both our high calling and holy responsibility together for us in one of the most blessed and provocative passages in the Bible:

 

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”         1 John 3:1-3

 

As John implied in his earlier exhortation, the things of this earth, no matter how wonderful they may seem, corrupt.  They corrupt in that they decay and dissolve themselves over time, and they corrupt in that they pervert the minds and hearts of those who put their trust in them.

 

Believers, we are not called to accumulate this world's goods, but to distribute them.  We are not called to become entangled with the cares of this life, but to walk in all sincerity and honesty the eternal life Christ has given us.  The Christian, the truly born again Believer, is not to become entangled with the affairs of this life, but to have his eyes ever on his Lord and his heavenly hope.  We are not to love this world or its “things,” but our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has promised to provide all of the “things” we need according to His perfect wisdom (Matthew 6:33).  Because He is “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11) and loves infinitely, He will not… no, I will put it as strongly as does the Word… He cannot fail us.  Let us not fail Him.

 

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”         2 Corinthians 5:14, 15

 

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