The Shepherd Brings Bread
I recently sat down to read Psalm 7 through 23 straight through. I had no particular design in mind, but felt a soul hunger that I needed bread from Heaven. The effect was humbling and refreshing.
The earlier part of the reading seemed full of the fierceness of God’s wrath, His extreme displeasure with wickedness. I don’t like to dwell on God’s severity in wrath. It is heavy. It is humbling.
This all led up to the last two Psalms of the reading, twenty-two and twenty-three. I did not pick these particular Psalms to suit any purpose of my own, but they came together to form quite a picture. God’s wrath built to crescendo in the twenty-second Psalm. This is the great prophecy of Messiah’s crucifixion. The fierceness of God’s wrath with wickedness put weight upon weight on my head. Then, just as I was to be crushed beneath an unbearable weight, all was taken and violently put upon Christ.
The substitution was made. The Savior hang in darkness with the crushing weight on His shoulders. He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). There He, the spotless Lamb of God, was made “a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people” (Psalm 22:6). He was scorned and mocked by the people because He was cursed of God.
The suffering is incomprehensible. His hands and feet are pierced. The people are like ravening lions tearing at Him with their mouths. Men mindlessly gamble for His only earthly possessions, His clothes. His bones are out of joint and He thirsts. Somehow, there is a calm surrender and His spirit is given leave. His body hangs lifeless.
He is given a good burial by two disciples who no longer follow in secret. The tomb is sealed and eery silence grips the earth. I am yet alive. How can this be? I was being buried beneath the load of my own sins feeling the heat of the burning anger of God coming for me.
I look back to the tomb and the stone is rolled away. He is not there. He has risen. He is dazzlingly radiant in white and brings me to Psalm 23. Little sheep, here is your Shepherd. He loves you. He laid down His life for you. He leads you all your days and you will dwell in His house for eternity.
This was a powerful reading and true bread from Heaven. Thank you Father.
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
– Psalm 40:17