A sheep is a very helpless creature and needs a shepherd. Especially was that true in the Old Testament dispensation when there were many wolves and lions in the vicinity, from whom the sheep needed protection. Yet today we are in a far more serious danger than sheep were in the day when Asaph wrote, calling God the Great Shepherd, "Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved," Psalm 80:3.
We have a wolf in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15) and a roaring lion (I Peter 5:8) seeking whom he may devour. The devil is an invisible enemy against whom we cannot stand in our own strength. What is more, we are so prone to stray where he lurks. We may bodily be in church, but with our minds we stray from Christ, our Shepherd. And we like to run after teachings and doctrines that satisfy our flesh and open doors for us to walk in the sins our flesh enjoys.
That is why Asaph calls to God to turn us, and, if you please, to turn us again, for we are straying so often and going where Satan wants us to be. We need to be turned and be brought back to the flock to feed in green pastures. Straying causes our backs to be turned to our Shepherd; and we cannot see His face shining with the smile of love. Instead we are doing that which greatly displeases Him.
We need to be turned, or as our versification has it, we must be restored. Remember what we sang yesterday (PRC Psalter)?
Great Shepherd Who leadest Thy people in love,
'Mid cherubim dwelling, shine Thou from above;
In might come and save us, Thy people restore,
And we shall be saved when Thy face shines once more.
We must be restored in the sense that we must be brought back to the path of righteousness, where the light of God's smile falls. Because of His love, which is behind that smile, we will be turned back again to where we can see what He did for us in His Son.
Pray that you may be turned. But then thank Him for turning you again and for what He did in His Son.
Quote for Reflection:
… it is to be particularly noticed that David does not simply ascribe to God the afflictions under which he is now suffering, but acknowledges them to be the just recompense of his sins. He does not take God to task as if he had been an enemy, treating him with cruelty without any just cause; but yielding to him the right of rebuking and chastening, he desires and prays only that bounds may be set to the punishment inflicted on him. -- John Calvin
- Date: 25-April