I will give them a king like my servant David to be their one shepherd, and he will take care of them. I, the Lord, will be their God, and a king like my servant David will be their ruler. I have spoken. I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security. I will get rid of all the dangerous animals in the land, so that my sheep can live safely in the fields and sleep in the forests.
“I will bless them and let them live around my sacred hill. There I will bless them with showers of rain when they need it. The trees will bear fruit, the fields will produce crops, and everyone will live in safety on his own land. When I break my people’s chains and set them free from those who made them slaves, then they will know that I am the Lord. The heathen nations will not plunder them anymore, and the wild animals will not kill and eat them. They will live in safety, and no one will terrify them. I will give them fertile fields and put an end to hunger in the land. The other nations will not sneer at them anymore. Everyone will know that I protect Israel and that they are my people. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.
“You, my sheep, the flock that I feed, are my people, and I am your God,” says the Sovereign Lord. (Good News Translation)
We all need a safe place to live and our needs provided. When protection from harm and provision of needs are realized, we call this “peace.”
So many people long for peace, simply because they aren’t experiencing it. They feel unsafe – either physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually – and are separated from the sort of resources which would give them what they need to live well.
God is the expert on security and safety, peace and protection. The Lord has provided what we need.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV)
The Shepherd Ruler
God made a covenant with David that was to last forever. There was the anticipation of a leader, even the Messiah, who would come from the line of King David. Such a ruler will bring unity to the people. This leader shall be a servant of the people, a shepherd, characterized by humility. And, most of all, the hoped for ruler will usher in an unprecedented time of peace.
The flock of sheep – the people – will not have a care in the world. The new divine shepherd will not live off the sheep, but will instead live for the sheep. The shepherd shall be the ultimate non-anxious presence among the sheep, assuaging their fears and keeping them well-fed.
From the standpoint of Christianity, this great restoration project of the Lord finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus. We needed a faithful shepherd, a merciful ruler, and we now have one.
The Settled Rest
Wholeness, integrity, thriving, flourishing, satisfaction, contentment, and a good life are all wrapped up in the biblical concept of peace and rest. And that is what the shepherd does for the sheep.
There is no peace when shepherds view the sheep as merely animals to be fleeced and used. But with a good shepherd, predators are kept away from the flock, plenty of pasture is provided to feed upon, and other shepherds in other fields attempting to steal sheep don’t stand a chance against the Good Shepherd.
A large chunk of humanity lives in a state of fear and anxiety because of violence, lack of basic necessities, disease, or natural disaster. Life can become so overwhelming that the future seems bleak and without hope. People long for peace – personal peace, family peace, world peace. They’re tired, and just want some rest.
Although the list of stressors may seem endless, divine blessings shall create the conditions in which humanity can live without fear and with hope in the world. No one will make them afraid, ever again.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV)
The Sure Restoration
The divine/human relationship, so marred and messed up by the presence and power of sin, will be perfectly restored. The Lord is God; and God is with us. The divine energy is no longer against us, but is for us. And if God is for us, who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39, NIV)
God will care for you. Along with you, the Lord will care for your loved ones who need a faithful leader, a place of peace and rest, and a new life.
O God, the source of all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works: Give to your servants the peace which the world cannot give, so that our hearts may obey your commandments, and that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.