The story is even bigger. Our hope knows that God guides His people, caring about every detail of our lives, showing us the right paths, guiding by the Holy Spirit, correcting our course when necessary.
But the story is even bigger.
This is Moses, leading the people in a song of praise to the Almighty after the dramatic rescue at the Red Sea:
“With your unfailing love you lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them
to your sacred home.”
‘Way back then, we already hear the realization that God has an ultimate purpose in His leading. These words have meaning beyond rescue from the Egyptians and guidance to an earthly Promised Land. In every era of history, God rescues His people because He loves them, and He guides them back to Himself.
We hear David rejoicing in the same guidance. Psalm 23 tells of the care of the Shepherd, in every necessity of life, finally leading to dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.
But the people God created to be like Him and enjoy a relationship with Him are “traitors and rebels from birth” (from Isaiah 48:8). They—and we—find that ignoring God’s guidance lands them—and us—in captivity to other powers:
This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Oh, that you had listened to my commands!
Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.”
God had offered Israel instructions for a good, peaceful life. Instead, they chose their own way and as a result their country and temple were destroyed and they were living in Babylon under the rule of a pagan king.
A rescue is promised. The Great Shepherd arrives to gather His flock, to provide all they need for life. To lay down His life so that His sheep might live.
And within everyone who hears the Shepherd’s voice and follows Him, God the Father plants His own Spirit, to guide and lead to life:
Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
Following His guidance leads to life, not only for the duration of our walk here on earth, but on into a life that does not end.
The Lamb will be their Shepherd, leading them to life-giving water.
I cannot pinpoint the time or place of this verse. As a matter of fact, it refers to a time when there is no time or place. It is sometime in eternity.
Even then, our Shepherd will be leading us!
The Lamb—the one sacrificed for us—is our Forever Shepherd.
I remember a time when thinking about eternity brought anxiety. Not because I was afraid of hell. But because it is all unknown. How do we even begin to comprehend eternity? What is heaven? Scenes of standing around and singing praises forever and ever and ever … Well, that didn’t really work for me.
Now, my hope is simply in the care of my Shepherd,
in Psalm 23 going on forever, into all beyond, whatever and wherever that is,
guiding always to life-giving water,
guiding me to His sacred home.
Show me the right path, O LORD;
Point out the road for me to follow.
MORE: Exodus 15:13; Psalm 5:8; Psalm 23; Psalm 25; Psalm 27:11; Psalm 37:23-24; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 73:23-24; Psalm 119:105, 133; Psalm 139:9-10; Psalm 143:8,10; Proverbs 3:5-6, 11-12; Isaiah 30:18-22; Isaiah 42:16-17; Isaiah 48:17-18; Isaiah 58:11; John 10:1-16; John 14:16-17, 25-26; John 16:13; Galatians 5:16-25; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Hebrews 12:5-12; Revelation 3:19; Revelation 7:17.