READ: Judges 17-18, Psalm 78, John 10, Galatians 5
Driving all these years in Africa and the Arab world has shown me that sheep are much dumber than goats. Sheep will wander right in front of oncoming traffic. Goats have the good sense to avoid cars. When you are speeding down the road and see a goat (distinguishable by the tail that sticks up as opposed to the sheep whose tail hangs down), you know that you can keep speeding. If you see a sheep, you have to proceed with caution. Being a dumb sheep myself, I am thankful for a Shepherd who lays down his life for me and whom I can know (John 10:14). What a marvel! I – dumb sheep that I am – can know the Good Shepherd, know His voice, have access to his presence. He leads me on in safety, to that I do not fear (Psalm 78:52).
Most comforting of all is that I am doubly held. John 10: 28 reminds that no one can snatch me out of Jesus hand, and John 10:29 states that no one can snatch me out of The Fathers’ hand.
BOTH MY HANDS ARE HELD. I am as secure as a little child holding the hands of two strong parents. That child can walk anywhere – through Cairo traffic, along cliffs, beside crashing waves, over thorns and thistles, on hot cement or frozen sidewalks. That child can run freely in green pastures or be lifted up cliffs, hoisted over crevices or guided over train tracks. The Father holds one hand, the Son the other, and the Spirit guides me along.
This is what it means to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). We do not walk alone. Both our hands and our heart are held. The triune God walks with us. We war by the Spirit (v. 17), we are led by the Spirit (v. 18), we bear fruit by the Spirit (v. 22), all with both our hands held. We are guided and enabled, even propelled through these processes of life by Father, Son, and Spirit.
Sometimes a child is restrained by those who hold his hands. “For we through the Spirit, eagerly wait” (Gal. 5:5). We are so used to thinking of the Spirit in terms of movement and propulsion, we forget that the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead also led Him to, and sustained Him on the cross. The Spirit helps us wait. The Spirit empowers us to suffer. The Spirit bears us across the threshold of death and into the presence of Jesus. Waiting, suffering, dying – all are works of the Spirit. Our hands never stop being held. When Jesus said that no one takes us out of His or the Father’s hands, He meant no one and nothing. Nothing can break the double handhold of God. Nothing can break God’s grip on me. Nothing can drive my Good Shepherd away. I am safe. I am doubly held.