The Original Shepherd

Read: Genesis 49:22-25

God of your father . . . will help you. (v. 25)

I once had a coworker who enjoyed skydiving. On a Monday morning he came to work shaken. He had slept in the previous morning and missed an opportunity to skydive. The person who took his place on the plane experienced an equipment malfunction that could have killed him. My friend concluded that some invisible hand had steered him from disaster.

Jacob, patriarch of Israel, looked back on his life and recognized an invisible hand at work, steering him from danger. Jacob spent his early life lying, cheating, and manipulating to get his way. He should have reaped the dire consequences of his duplicitous ways. Instead, Jacob enjoyed success, wealth, long life, and a big family. On his deathbed, Jacob identified his shepherd by name: “the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel” (v. 24). Jacob’s worst trouble came when he chose his own way instead of God’s way. Jacob’s greatest blessings came not by his strategies but through God’s promises.

We are tempted to see ourselves as self-made; tempted to conclude in looking back at our lives that they are the product of our good behavior and hard work. But if we are honest, we can see both the flaws and failures that should have led to disaster and the steady hand of our faithful shepherd, the Mighty One of Jacob, the Stone of Israel. Life is never better than under the watchful guidance of the original shepherd. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, acknowledge God’s shepherding hand and ask for his continued care.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.