The LORD is my Shepherd. (Psalm 23:1)
Years ago, I heard a preacher—I don’t know if it was live or on the radio— who talked about the choices we make and the paths we take. So there you are, walking along with God, side by side, fellowshipping with Him, following Him, just being WITH Him. And then you decide to take a right turn, and go off in your direction. Now this is not without biblical precedence.
Note what He has done for us:
- He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (Isa 53: 4-5)
And what do we do after all this?
- We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way. (v.6a)
So yeah, wandering off is in our nature. Now, back to the sermon. This preacher talks about us wandering off, to go down our own path, probably to do something sinful, something selfish, something displeasing to God. And the picture he painted was that God remained on the chosen path, while we trotted off on our own. And when we finally come to our senses, like the prodigal son did, we then turn around and go back to the path, and find God patiently waiting there for us.
THAT IS WRONG! And here’s why.
Does a shepherd just let his sheep wander off? Or does he go get them? He goes and gets them, because He knows we are too stupid, or too lost, to find our way home. Now granted, we may be off on this little tangent, this little side trip, and be totally unaware that He is with us—but He is. Because The LORD is our Shepherd. (Who by the way, laid down His life for us – John 10:11)
Also consider His nature.
Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there. If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me. I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light around me to turn into night, but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you. (Psalm 139:7-12) With the exception of Hell, the is no place He is not.
Omnipresence is pretty tough to escape.
So, a role He willingly embraces, and a divine characteristic which is tough to get by (pun intended). God is not waiting at the beginning of your detour with arms crossed and foot tapping. He is with you. Now, you may not know that He is with you, because you’re trying to avoid Him, or ignore Him, or forget Him. But He is with you, and He always will be.
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrew 13:5)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)