My mom is reading A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, which is exactly what it says on the tin. (Incidentally, why are Amazon urls so ridiculously long and complicated? it’s the only website I can think of where I can’t chop off everything in the url after the title and still have it work. Obviously one doesn’t type in the url these days, but it still bugs me.) She’s really enjoying it, apparently.
Anyway, this morning she read this passage from Ezekiel 34:
17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
Now, on first glace, most of us would assume it’s about the rich oppressing the poor. Not an unreasonable assumption, and a perfectly reasonable way to use it. However, if you look at the context, I’m inclined to think He’s actually talking about truth and lies and what people believe. The prophecy begins in chapter 33 with a reminder that it is important to listen to the word of God, and to recognize the truth, then continues in the first part of chapter 34 with a rebuke to the “shepherds,” which could mean political leaders but I suspect means rabbis and teachers, and then the prophecy ends with a promise to restore the people to a relationship with the Lord and the blessings of the land. All in all, I think the passage is probably about truth, not about money.
So the muddy waters are all the untruths and half-truths that people believe and repeat and spread around, whether about spiritual things or political things or scientific things or whatever. And they drive me absolutely bonkers.
Mom brought all this up because she feels that one of my callings is to help in this area – to clear the waters, and help people avoid mud. That would explain why it bugs me so much.
And it’s true that I put a lot of time into that sort of thing. When I edited the newsletter for the youth organization, my favorite part was writing articles designed to clear away things that block the truth. And these days I go online to find the truth behind the scare stories brought in by the ladies at the prayer group. (Tycoons are taking over Israel’s economy! Except they aren’t. Probably.)
Of course, this does mean I sometimes come across as a know-it-all, which I am working on. I’ve decided it’s more important (in most cases, at least) that someone feel loved than that they be right, so it’s a balancing act. But I’m getting there.
I just think it’s important to be getting at the truth. Adding anything just confuses the issue and makes life more difficult than it should be.
Father, give us the discernment to find the truth, wisdom to know how to communicate it, and patience with those who will not listen. Amen.