Like roaring lions attacking their prey, they come at me with open mouths. - Psalm 22:13
The Greek poet Homer said, “All kings are shepherds of the people.” Shepherds and kings went together in the minds of the ancients.
The writers of Scripture use the shepherd picture constantly. God is shown to be shepherd King of Israel. The writer of Psalm 80 prays, “Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Israel like a flock” (Psalm 80:1).
Psalm 22, graphically portrays the shepherd’s cross. Jesus Christ told us he was the Good Shepherd who had come to give his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
In David’s time, the shepherd would count his animals into the fold, then lay himself down across the opening, becoming the “gate.” If any wild animal would have lamb for dinner, he would have to deal with the shepherd. Therefore, Jesus is the gate by which if anyone enters in, he or she shall be saved (John 10:7).
We all know the gospel story. The Good Shepherd came to “seek and save those . . . who are lost” (Luke 19:10). He gathered his flock, lay down in the gate, and the lion got him! You can read in Psalm 22 about the fight that ensued. The shepherd fought alone, feeling forsaken by his God. The psalmist wrote: “For he has not ignored the suffering of the needy. He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help” (Psalm 22:24).
The lion got him, but on Easter Sunday morning, he got the lion!
For Further Study: Psalm 22:1-21
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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