Empty: Psalm 86 - Persevere, Perfect Joy

Psalm 86

One of Jesus’ last commands to Peter is: take care of my sheep”. Jesus repeatedly uses the analogy of Himself as “The Good Shepherd” with us being His sheep. Note His unfailing provision as He leads His sheep to food, water and safety. Noteworthy in this analogy is the fact that you don’t find sheep performing in the circus. Sheep are about as dumb as a box of rocks. And, when we compare our extremely limited intelligence with God’s infinite wisdom, we get the picture of that great chasm between our ability to reason and His. Another “fun fact”, sheep will follow a shepherd - it’s a given. And Jesus never claims to be the only shepherd. His eternal promise to us is that He is always the Good Shepherd.

With all the choices we have regarding whom we will follow - political figures, popular gurus, ourselves, etc. is it any wonder the world seems void of joy at this time? Human beings, by our nature are imperfect and, therefore, we will absolutely fail from time to time. Choosing any shepherd for ourselves other than the Good and Perfect Shepherd is simply setting ourselves up for inevitable disappointment and emptiness.

David asks for happiness from the perfect source. But, let’s not overlook the details of his request. “Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.” (v4) David doesn’t put the cart before the horse. He rightly expects joy to come as a God-promised result of giving himself to the Lord. The promises of God are first and foremost to His people. He promises us that He will provide all we need, including joy, when we give ourselves to Him and no other. In other words, surrendering our entire self to God is the beginning of joy and the end to our emptiness.

But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (NLT)

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)