Eyes set toward the shepherd

David Jeremiah, in his Turning Point Devotional recounts the following story:

In his book, A Turtle on the Fencepost, Allen C. Emery tells of a night he spent on the Texas plains with a shepherd who was keeping two thousand sheep.  The shepherd prepared a bonfire for cooking supper and providing warmth.  The sheep dogs lay down near the fire as the stars filled the sky.
Suddenly Emery heard the unmistakable wail of a coyote with an answering call from the other side of the range.  The dogs weren’t patrolling at the moment, and the coyotes seemed to know it.  Rising quickly, the shepherd tossed some logs on the fire; and in this light, Emery looked out at the sheep and saw thousands of little lights.
Emery writes, “I realized that these were reflections of the fire in the eyes of the sheep. In the midst of danger, the sheep were not looking out into the darkness, but were keeping their eyes set toward the shepherd.”

The writer of Hebrews teaches us to keep our eyes on Jesus:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

How many of you have discovered that where you set your eyes, what you focus on, usually determines your level of trust?  Allow me to explain.

When troubles come, and we know troubles will come, most people typically fix their eyes on the trouble.  If they do not fix their eyes on the trouble, they may look to themselves for answers.  Either way, either direction, it is a lose/lose scenario.  Whether you look at your troubles or you look to yourself, you are going to lose.  However, when we fix our eyes on Christ our perspective changes, and the trouble may not diminish, but our sure does not shrink.

Why is it so important to fix our eyes on Jesus?

  • It is important to fix our eyes on Jesus, because He is the founder and perfecter of our faith.  When we fix our eyes on Him, we grow in our faith.
  • It is important to fix our eyes on Jesus, because He is bigger than every trial or trouble.  When we fix our eyes on Him, our troubles diminish.
  • It is important to fix our eyes on Jesus, because He is the solution.  Yes, Jesus is the solution to our depravity.  After we acknowledge His Lordship over our lives, He is the solution to every need, question, trial or trouble.
  • It is important to fix our eyes on Jesus, because He is our example.  The Bible commands us to do fix our eyes on Jesus, so we can conform more into His image.

Sometimes the worries and struggles of life echo in our ears like the wailing of a coyote or wild animal.  If a coyote is wailing within earshot of you, turn your eyes upon Jesus.


1 Response to “Eyes set toward the shepherd”

  1. 1 Lee
    August 15, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Awesome truth! If our eyes are not focused on the prize, we are not competing. If our eyes are not on the finish line, we’re either not running or running in the wrong direction. Like you said yesterday, how we react to suffering is an indicator of our level of faith.

    Our society has plenty of grass covered hills that lead many sheep to wander from the heard, believing it to be greener pastures. They decide not trust the shepherd’s leadership to provide for their needs, rather to trust their own sight. Sports, hobbies, money, work, gadgets, family, relationships, etc. may look apetising and may be nutritious but if outside the leahership of the shepherd, these things may lead us astray. When darkness comes the lone sheep or group of sheep are all alone, still surrounded by delicious grass but completely vulnerable to the enemy.

    The mother of Protestant reformer John Calvin taught him well as to how to avoid the appeal of greener pastures:

    “Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself.”

    Goodness (or pleasure from) a product of creation must not serve as a substitute for the goodness of (and pleasure from) the presence, leadership and blessing of the creator/shephard. His rod and his staff may seem unpleasant as it keeps us in line when all is well but is much more appreciated when it is bashing the roaring lion between the eyes as he tries to devour us. For correction and protection, his rod and staff comfort me, motivating me to watch and follow him, staying among the rest of the flock whose eyes are fixed on him.

    Psalm 23:1-6 A PSALM OF DAVID.The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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