Friday, March 13, 2009
Shepherd and Sheep Series-Sheep Must Be At Rest Before They Can Chew Their Food
Have you noticed the effect distractions and irritations have on your devotional life? We can learn a great deal about meditation from sheep. Distractions and irritations will stop sheep from ruminating on their food. One source of irritation is insects which are naturally attracted to sheep. Insects are especially bothersome to the head and face of sheep. In order to free his sheep from this damaging distraction, the shepherd will pour a specially prepared oil mixture over the head of the sheep. This mixture contains oil, tar, and herbs. The tar repels insects, while the oil and herbs brings healing to the sheep when they have been scratched by thorns or bitten by insects. There is nothing more damaging or disruptive to the process of meditation than worldly cares and irritating distractions. Our Chief Shepherd has given us the Holy Spirit, Who instructs us not to worry over anything, but to tell God every detail of our needs in earnest and thankful prayer. The peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will then keep guard over our hearts and minds as we rest in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 4:6-7). We need to be preparing for quietness. During the day, get alone in your “prayer closet.” By shutting out the distractions of the world, we can bring up the Word which we have read, studied, and memorized, and use it for prayer, intercession, supplication, and thanksgiving before the Lord. God has promised that those who do this secretly will be rewarded openly. Daniel had major responsibilities as the leading president of a world empire. Yet, three times a day he resorted to his “prayer closet” and worshiped the Lord. The resulting success in Daniel’s life and ministry is a living testimony of the importance of following his example. Further instructions for meditation are contained in Deuteronomy 6:7 “Talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. In order to meditate we are going to have to become intentional about doing so. Perhaps the most important of these four occasions occurs while you are going to sleep at night. This observation is based upon the fact that God designed the day to begin in the evening. “The evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). Furthermore, the last thoughts on our minds before we go to sleep will be on our subconscious mind throughout the night and will set our mental attitude for the next day, either consciously or unconsciously. It is for this reason God gives special commands to meditate on His Word during this time. “Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” (Psalm 4:4). One of David’s responses to this command is found in Psalm 63:5-6 “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips: When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches.” Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.