Shepherding God’s Flock: The Path to Restoration (Part 2)

Psalm 32:3-4

When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day

long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned

into the drought of summer. Selah.

In these verses, we see that David was trying to keep this sin “under wraps” and did not want to talk about the situation.  As a shepherd over his flock knows, this “covering” is normal behavior for people in sin.  They want to hide the sin and do not like when the shepherd points out the problem to them.  The passage seems to indicate that David’s health was affected, making him miserable.  So, a shepherd in tune with God will notice this change in countenance among his sheep and may understand that God is making His child miserable until he deals with his sin.  In David’s case, he persisted in his miserable condition for some time. 

In the next verse, we see that the time of blessing and refreshing in David’s life was turned into a drought.  Most that have experienced a drought know that it does not occur overnight.  About a year ago, I was able to visit Yosemite National Park in California.  I talked with a number of folks there who said that they had been experiencing a three-year drought.  My wife and I noticed the dryness in the fields and the barrenness in the fruit farms in that area of California.  This seems to be the idea conveyed in David’s words.  He had experienced a drought of God’s refreshment and presence, and he was dry and shriveled up spiritually. 

As a pastor, you may have some sheep in your fold who will get involved in sin, and they will not want to talk about it or deal with it.  You will start noticing dryness in their spiritual life and in their walk with the Lord.  This dryness and misery may last for some time, just as it did in David’s life.  Trust God that He will not leave His child to remain in this state.  God may, however, want the use the “dryness” to bring this sheep to the place of utter failure and misery.  It is our job as a shepherd to be there and offer them the pathway to restoration. 

Psalm 32:5-6

           I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

We now see how a shepherd can help his sheep back into the fold.  In these verses, there is an acknowledgment of sin.  A repentant man or woman is willing to turn and face the sin that has either been swept under or left in a place that is not often visited.  The sinner will find that God’s arms are always open to the penitent.  The Heavenly Father is in His abode waiting for His prodigal to return.  The prodigal returned with a similar mind-set as David expresses here.  When the prodigal came to the father saying that he was no longer worthy to be called his servant, the father threw his arms around him and welcomed him back into the fold.  This is what a penitent person can always find with Christ.  He will find that God’s mercy is extended to all who genuinely turn from their sin.

In verse 6, it seems that David is referencing the great flood during Noah’s time.  It may indicate that one can pass a point of restoration.  There is great debate on this idea; but I have seen some folks refuse to come to God in a penitent fashion, and the doors seem to close on them as in the story of Noah and the ark.  

I pray that this has stirred the heart of some pastor who is wandering in his aim or purpose as an undershepherd of the flock of God.  One of our tasks is to be in the work of restoration.  This is time-consuming and can lead one into precarious situations and into some of the inclement weather that the wayward sheep has gotten himself into.  The shepherd must be courageous enough to weather these storms to rescue.  May God help us as shepherds of God’s flock to be in the rescuing business.

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