The providential care of the loving God
by Rev. Dr. Lourdino A. Yuzon

An American tourist was traveling in the Middle East. He came upon sev eral shepherds whose flock had intermingled while drinking water from a brook. After an exchange of greetings, one of the shepherds turned toward the sheep and called out, “Manah, Manah, Manah” (Manah means “follow me” in Arabic.) Immediately his sheep separated themselves and followed him.”

The traveler then said to the one other shepherd, “I would like to try that. Let me put on your cloak and turban and see if I can get (your) sheep to follow me.

The Shepherd smiled knowingly as the traveler wrapped himself in the cloak, put the turban on his head and called out “Manah, Manah.” The sheep did not respond to the stranger’s voice. Not one of them moved toward him” (Paul Lee Tan. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations. Garland, Texas: Bible Communications. 1979,p.499).

In our modern culture, our lives are filled with numbers. We have just filled out and submitted our income tax returns, and that is an exercise in numbers which is one way of measuring our worth. When I requested for a print out of the balance of our checking account, the bank teller asked me to spew out my Social Security number. As proof of our identity, supermarket check out clerks demand that we present the number, not our name, on our driver’s license or identity card.

Sometimes, we wonder whether others really know each of us at all beyond the numbers attached to our names. But there is One who knows us most intimately. In fact, God knows each of us more fully than we can ever know ourselves. As Jesus said, “even the hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7). God who is eminently personal, relates to us in a personal way. In God’s eyes, each of us is recognized as individual persons to be affirmed and loved. And if we listen to His voice more attentively, we can see Him more clearly, follow Him more closely and love Him more dearly.

If verses 2 and 3 depict an idyllic scene of nature, verse 4 gives us a realistic picture of what we can expect. It reminds us that in our life’s journeys, it will not be all green pastures and cool, still waters that await us. There will be dangers, trials, problems, formidable challenges, misfortunes and tragedies that lie in wait for us in the valley of the shadows of death.

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