Devotions » Tozer Devotional
Fri, June 01, 2012
Beyond the Shepherd Image
It would appear obvious enough once we think of it that the image of natural objects treasured in the mind tends to impede the flight of our souls upward into God. Illustrations which, by their very definition, should let in light, if used often and objectified by the artist’s brush, become opaque at last and actually shut out the light they were intended to admit. A familiar example may help me to make my point. The psalmist David, in the most beautiful hymn in the world, teaches us to think of Christ as our Shepherd. The Lord Jesus carried the idea further and talked tenderly of His sheep and of Himself as the Shepherd who should lay down His life for them. The artists took up the idea and depicted Christ as a real shepherd and their work has become so fixed in the minds of Christians that when our Lord returns many of them will be secretly disappointed if He is not carrying a crook in His hand and a woolly lamb under His arm. In this instance what is intended to assist our understanding, to lift our imagination, to put poetry and music into our hearts, has by our blindness become instead a positive hindrance to our knowledge of Christ. Worse, it has given us not only an inadequate but an erroneous picture of Him. We try to visualize Him and the only image that projects onto the screen is that of an idealized shepherd of the Near East, an image which I am certain Paul and John would never recognize. Paul declared that he knew Christ after the flesh no more, and the same John who had recorded the words of Christ concerning the sheep and the shepherd, when he saw Him as He now is fell at His feet as dead.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place . . . that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
He is our shepherd in all the biblical meaning of that metaphor. But He is the risen Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords at whose name one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of the Father!
Open my eyes, Lord, to behold You as You are, within human ability to do so.
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“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”
A. W. Tozer, a modern day prophet, was a key figure in The Christian and Missionary Alliance. His legacy reaches through time and has impacted countless millions. A prolific author and pastor, Tozer was known for his emphasis on the deeper life movement. His message, informed as it was by A.B. Simpson the founder of The Alliance, brought the missionary call to a massive audience. A series of his sermons are available as audio files.
His books have been published around the world and in many languages. This devotional was compiled from the That Incredible Christian, Chapter 27 - Spiritual Things Must Be Spiritually Discerned
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