Those of you who were with us last week know that we just started a new series. We are now in week 2 of The Lord is My Shepherd: Knowing, understanding and receiving God as your pastor.
Shepherding is an ancient practice.
Shepherding is an ancient metaphor for leadership, specifically rulership—as in the rulership of a king.
Reviewing Key Terms
The ancient world has roots in monarchy and the contemporary world has roots in democracy.
Monarchy is associated with values that today either create deep suspicion or that we simply reject outright:
- Hierarchy – “a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority” (dictionary.com) [hierarchy also situates people in roles, which from a 21st century perspective, is anti-equality.]
- Slavery – “a condition in which one person owns another.” (britannica.com)
Democracy is associated with values we now associate with the highest form of morality:
- Freedom – the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint (dictionary.com)
- Equality – the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities (dictionary.com)
Reviewing Key Concepts
Freedom, Equality and Democracy have become our new definition of .
They are a new holy trinity.
We now judge the Bible by these values instead of evaluating these values by the Bible.
When good is elevated above , it becomes bad.
Let’s Be Clear
I am not saying that we should reject the of democracy and its corresponding values.
I am saying that we should reject the democracy holds about morality.
Democracy’s Assumption: Human beings have the power within themselves to determine the difference between right and wrong.
- Proverbs 3:7
- Judges 17:6
Let’s Be Practical
In the 21st Century, how does God rule a country in practice?
Because of the legacy of the age of reason, we see God’s rulership as impractical and only see His rulership in sentimental or symbolic terms.
- We want God to be our shepherd symbolically, but we don’t want to be his .
- We want God’s wisdom, but we reject His leadership.
- We want truth, but we don’t like where God hid it: in ancient world with values foreign to our own.
It is only when we embrace all the implications of the Lord as our shepherd that we will receive the benefits of Psalm 23.
- Proverbs 3:5–6
- Jeremiah 3:14–15
- When we seek God for righteousness leadership, He will give us leaders who will guide us .
- The assumption we make here is that we go must to God for righteousness because we are not qualified to make that call.
Democracy Is an Old Concept
The Perils of Democracy
From a biblical perspective, democracy has always been consequential (Genesis 6:5–7)
The impulse in humans led to the destruction of humankind.
The flood was not the result of an impulsive God easily angered (Joel 2:13)
The flood was an intervention by a just God whose gave them time to repent.
The rainbow is both a promise and a warning:
- Genesis 9:11–13
- 2 Peter 3:1–7
- Matthew 24:37–39
- Matthew 24:42–46
© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2021