Advent Day Twelve: Shepherd King

“I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel.  I have been with you wherever you have gone. . . Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. . . the LORD himself will establish a house for you. . . Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”  (2 Samuel 7:8-16)

Children love a good Cinderella story.  Watching her rise from ashes to a palace is a theme repeated endlessly in our collective narrative.  It is best seen in the David story.

His rise to power began in the pastures as he filled his days with poetry and music while protecting his sheep.  He had a heart for God that overflowed with Psalms. There was no challenge too great for David because he had learned that “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37) He was the giant killer, the LORD’s anointed from the root of Jesse.

Jesus also came from humble circumstances—just a carpenter from the remote regions of Judah; far from the centre of political or religious power.  He was a friend of fishermen and farmers, but he was God’s anointed King, the promised seed that would rule on the eternal throne forever.  His kingdom consists of the poor, weak, and persecuted.  Rather than ruling with authority and fear, he steps down and carries us on his shoulders as a shepherd caring for his sheep.  In the end, he becomes a lamb and offers himself as the ultimate sacrifice.  Our shepherd sits at God’s right hand, interceding for us, his human brothers and sisters. 

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:26-27)  The eternal King was greeted by shepherds, his royal retinue. 

“God thank you for looking at our hearts rather than our status in choosing us for your kingdom.  Use our humble efforts to further your work and guide us, as the great shepherd, in paths of righteousness to green pastures.”  Amen.

Mindi Oaten’s painting “The Glory of the LORD”is from God’s Garden of Grace collection.

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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