Forever Yours

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“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  and I give unto them eternal life;  and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  John 10:27,28

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Lord, here’s a little word again.  And in the King James Version in e-Sword it’s even italicized.  It’s this word “man.”  And I looked in a bunch of other translations and everyone felt they should use the idea of no “man” plucking Your sheep away from You.  I wondered, “Why is that little word in italics?”  Sometimes that means it wasn’t present in the earliest of transcripts.  But that’s not the case here.  So, I went back to Strong’s to check out what the Greek word could mean.  And this little word “tis” can mean any person or object.  In other words, it can be any man, thing, or thing at all.

Now, since the Pharisees were the ones that You were addressing here, it’s right for them to understand that no man, not even them, can get in the way of God’s drawing someone to Him through Jesus.  Because, Jesus has told them they are not of Him, they don’t recognize His voice as the Shepherd, and they won’t respond to Him.  Therefore, they can only act as false teachers and lead people away from Him.  Only there will still be some that hear and ignore them.  And nothing they do can stand in the way or tear them back away from God because of God’s keeping power over His own.

But I’m still thinking about this.  Your sheep hear Your voice.  I hear Your voice.  I recognize You.  And it doesn’t just stop there.  You know Your sheep.  You recognize them.  You are familiar with them.  You are intimate with them.  You know them apart from other sheep.  This is how You know me.  And because You have brought me to hear and recognize and know You, and because You intimately know me, the joy of my life is to follow You.  I want to attach myself to You in every way, shape, and form.

I mean, after all, in You “I am never in need.”  In You I have all the green pastures and peaceful waters I need.  In You my soul is renewed.  You guide me.  Even in dangerous places, I don’t have to be afraid because You are there.  You are my courage.  You overflow in Your goodness to me.  Why would I want anything or anyone but You?  “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  {Psalm 23)  And that little word dwell means to sit down.  It “has the sense of to sit, dwell, remain, abide and emphasizes a thoroughly settled state or condition. One has settled down and is comfortable and content.” (www.preceptaustin)  I think of Mary and Martha and how Mary just sat and was content and comfortable just being with You and listening to You.  But Martha was burdened about other things.  And then I think about other times when the Israelites sat down and became comfortable in places they shouldn’t have, with people they shouldn’t have and were drawn away from You.

But Martha couldn’t change Mary’s mind because Mary’s heart was Yours.  She was Your sheep.  She was listening to Your voice and hearing and knowing You.  She got this taste of You.  She saw You.  She experienced how good You are.  And neither Martha nor the circumstances going on around her could alter where she found her contentment and where she found her peace  Everything else paled in comparison to sitting at Your feet and beholding You and soaking in Your words.

So, it’s only natural that these sheep, like Mary, (and eventually Martha), follow You.  Because You unite Yourself with them and they unite themselves with You.  And it’s in this unity that the peace and comfort and protection and safety flows.  This is where You are.  This is where I want to be.  I want to be where You can care for me to the utmost.  I want to be where I can reciprocate my adoration for You to the utmost.

And what’s Your reward for becoming a sheep that sticks by that closely?  An eternity of closeness.  An eternity of safety.  An eternity of relationship.  An eternity of peace and joy and comfort and rest.  And I shall never be separated from You.  Never.  Ever.  Because not only can no man pluck me away from Your hold on me, but neither can anything pluck me away.  Not anything at all.

Not only that, here is another reason I believe that nothing, absolutely nothing can snatch me out of Your hand.  Because Paul thought so to.  Listen from Romans 8.  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, ‘For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors (super conquerors!) through Him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The fact is, I am persuaded also.  You, Lord, have persuaded me.  I am absolutely convinced.  This is my confidence.  It’s all in You.  Because it’s not just man who tries to persuade me otherwise.  There are spiritual powers out there throwing things in my life to try to convince me otherwise.  There are situations by nature of living in a fallen world that are set on convincing me otherwise.  And sometimes, my old nature wants to convince me otherwise.  But, I’ve seen and tasted Your presence.  I’ve seen and tasted Your protection.  I’ve seen and tasted Your love.  I’ve seen and tasted Your deliverance.  And frankly, You taste delicious.  The rest of that stuff tastes nasty.

Lord, what can I do?  I trust You more than the stuff going on around me.  I want to continually yield to You and not the pressure of the world or the pressure of people.  I want to take my focus off of everything else that is trying to snatch my attention from You.  I want to hear You above every storm.  I want to be uncomfortable everywhere else but in You.  I want to continually live in the knowledge that I have been called by You, I am forever loved by You, and I am forever kept by You.  I am so grateful that the hands that hold me are bigger and stronger and more loving than any other hands that shall ever exist.  Lord, I humbly rest in Your grasp and pray that You will bring Your will to pass in my life.  May I be fully surrendered to You in every attitude and aspect.  I am so abundantly glad that I am forever Yours.

(Credit for the picture at top goes to Randy Batiquin)

 

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