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Pastoral 2014

God and His Flock

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Have you ever considered what would become of a flock of sheep in the field which do not recognise nor follow its shepherd? Surely, many perils await those foolish and wretched creatures. So is a church that does not acknowledge and follow her divine Shepherd. Hence the biblical admonition, “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3).

“Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves”

Biblical religion is knowledge-based; it is based on the knowledge of the living and true God. True worship never occurs without the knowledge that the LORD is God. False ideas of God lead to idolatry and superstitions. Hence, the admonition to all is “Know ye that the LORD he is God”. The name “the LORD” in Hebrew is “Yehowah”, which is transliterated in English as Jehovah. This name of God appears 6,518 times in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. In the King James Bible, “Yehowah” is translated as “LORD” 6,510 times, “GOD” four times, and “JEHOVAH” four times. It has never been used to refer to any other god or person in the Bible. The LORD is God in the fullest, most absolute and most exclusive sense.

“Yehowah” denotes the self-existence of God (cf. Exodus 3:13-15). The LORD is the eternal God. He is without beginning and end. He is also our Creator. It is the LORD who made us, and not we ourselves. Hence, we must know that there is no God beside the LORD. Unto Israel, it was declared through Moses, “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. . . Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else” (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39). Likewise, Jeremiah the prophet declared, “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king” (Jeremiah 10:10). It is repeatedly asserted that the LORD of Israel, Who revealed Himself in the Holy Scriptures, alone is God (Cf. Josh 22:30; 1 Ki. 8:60; 18:39; 2 Ki. 19:19; Isaiah 44:6, 8, 24; 45:5-6, 22; Hosea 13:4; Joel 2:27; John 17:3; Acts 17:23-24).

Every worshipper must acknowledge and confess that the LORD alone is God. Furthermore, they must seek to know Him more and more with great wonder, thankfulness and reverence. God’s people have always been instructed, “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9). Through the prophet Hosea, the LORD said that He desired “the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). We must know the LORD and prove our knowledge of Him by faith, obedience, zeal and love towards Him.

“We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture”

Israel was called by God to be “His people”. All genuine Israelites can say, “We are His people”. God has so often referred to Israel as “My people” (cf. Exodus 3:7, 10; 5:1; 2 Samuel 3:18; Psalm 81:8). Likewise, in these days, God has called us who were not of Israel, through the Lord Jesus Christ, to be His people. In 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Again in Titus 2:14, we read that Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

How great is God’s grace towards us that we can say “we are His people”! Though we were once alienated from God, His grace has received us as “His people”. 1 Peter 2:9-10 declares, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” It is indeed a very great honour God has bestowed upon us, that we can boldly say “we are His people.”

Because He has received us as His people, He also cares for us as “the sheep of his pasture”. Psalm 95:7 records, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand”. The LORD will take care of His people as tenderly as a shepherd cares for his sheep. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). The LORD will take care of all our needs and guide us every step of the way.

God’s people must acknowledge that they are not self-made individuals, but rather God has created and redeemed them, and now nourishes and nurtures them daily. We are what we are because of the LORD’s gracious provisions and guidance. So, like the sheep that gather around their shepherd, let us with grateful hearts avow to the LORD, even our gracious and loving Shepherd: “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever” (Psalm 79:13a)

 

A Word to the Participants of Holy Land Bible Study Tour

All glory be to God who has graciously paved the way for a Holy Land Bible Study Tour under Bible Witness Media Ministry! It will certainly be an enriching experience to walk in the land where Biblical heroes of faith and our Lord Jesus Christ had lived and ministered. We hope that all the participants of this trip will gain a deeper understanding of the Biblical history, geography, culture, etc.

The itinerary has been carefully put together with the help of our tour agent, Guiding Star Ltd. of Jerusalem, who has an excellent working relationship with FEBC and many of the Bible-Presbyterian churches in Singapore. They have been operating tours in the Middle East since 1961.

I am very thankful to the Lord for Dn Lok Kwok Wah, who has co-laboured with me as the Tour Co-ordinator. There are altogether 48 participants in this tour. I praise the Lord for every one of you whom the Lord has led to join this tour. Please take time to get to know one another and rejoice in sweet Christian fellowship. Let us pray earnestly that His mercy and goodness shall guide, keep and bless us.

Heartily in Christ,
Prabhudas Koshy