November 10, 2009

New Song: Shepherd of my Soul

These are lyrics for a new worship song inspired by Jesus as the Shepherd of my soul. For a rough audio recording of song, please see audio page at this link.


Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Je-sus
Jesus, oh Jesus my - all in all
Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Je-sus
Shepherd of my soul
Shepherd of my soul

Lord, You guide me and keep me
Your love on the cross You did prove
Where you lead I will follow
Your pastures and waters renew


When my legs had been broken
When you chastened me Lord
You carried me on your shoulder
Till my joy in Your love was restored


To whom else can I go?
To whom else can I go but You?
To whom else can I go but You my Lord?


This song emphasizes God’s grace and how God provides all we need for the journey of life when we simply give our lives to Him. Though we are all prone to wander, as shown in Isaiah 53.6, when we commit our lives to Jesus Christ, He guides and protects us, even when we may feel we have lost hope in a given situation. 2 Timothy 2.13 says “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (NIV)

The title is found in 1 Peter 2.25. Here’s the context: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (Emphasis mine) 1 Peter 2.24-25 (KJV)

In simply knowing and abiding in Jesus Christ, our souls have rest, satisfaction and joy in Him, no matter what the circumstances: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” Psalm 23.1-2 Again, the emphasis is not on our strength or resolve but the fact that He is leading us.

Hebrews 12.4-6 show how we all tend to struggle against sin, but also how God uses hardships in our lives to humble us and help us learn that sin is destructive. He disciplines us because he loves us as a true Father: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

David compared God’s discipline to his own experience as a shepherd. When a young lamb would go astray, a common practice for a shepherd was to break a leg of the lamb and carry it on your shoulder until the leg healed. The lamb would develop a close bond to the shepherd and be less likely to stray: “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” In my life I’ve seen how difficult times and times of brokenness have drawn me closer to God. It's a good metaphor and really has more to do with a broken spirit than literal broken bones: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (51.17)

This Psalm 51 also points out the difference between God’s righteousness by faith and the process of sanctification. David writes “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (51.7) “The blood of the lamb” was applied with hyssop on Passover, and symbolizes Christ’s complete atonement and cleansing received by faith: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1.7 NIV) Walking in the light does not mean we have no sin, otherwise it wouldn’t say “his Son, purifies us from all sin.” It means we walk in transparency before God and others, without hypocrisy, confessing our sins regularly. (1 John 1.9)

Jesus is the only one in history who claimed to be the way to eternal life and true satisfaction. Jesus' disciples recognized this and said "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6.68) They recognized the fullness of who He was and because of this recognized it was appropriate for them to place all their hope and trust in Him. Jesus later confirmed their words: “Therefore Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’” (John 10:7-11 NIV) Jesus is to be everything to us, our “all in all” "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily," (Colossians 2:9)

Is Jesus your shepherd and your all in all?

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