Thursday, April 7, 2016

Discovering The Shepherd Commentary Received 5 Stars From Hearts Up Prison Prayer Ministry

Recently I received an amazing review for "Discovering The Shepherd: A Study of Psalm 23" from Victor Johnson of the Hearts Up organization. Hearts Up is committed to praying for inmates in what they consider to be the greatest mission field in America - jails and prisons. This is particularly special to me because my father was also committed to prison ministry until his death in 2005. Thank you Victor for your kind and thorough review! Read what he had to say below.


"Great devotional insights and word studies on this beautiful psalm of David. I like the cross references to other biblical passages, like relating “a table in the presence of my enemies” to Isaiah 25:6. Ms Johnson’s passion for Jesus outshines any limitations in her interpretations. Like the Groom and Bride–Christ and His Church–inferred from “rod and staff” through the Hebrew meanings and word genders. She may be right on, however. For the Theological Word Book of the OT says of the Hebrew root word for staff, “to lean on something or someone, as on a staff (Ezk 29:7), a spear (2 Sam 1:6), or an arm or hand (2 Kgs 5:18; 7:2, 17). The latter use probably refers to the relationship of a king to his confidant or second in command” (TWOT #2434).

It is common to think of God’s people as His “hands extended,” for the Head functions through His Body (the Church). I always felt uneasy about the overcomers in Rev 2:26-27 “shepherding” (poimaino) the nations with a “rod of iron,” and dashing them “to pieces like the potter’s vessels.” Then I began to understand how it might apply: God uses His Church to show mercy through love and intercessory prayer–our ministry as “a royal priesthood.” This gives Christ the legal basis to bring judgment on the wicked as “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” It’s the rod and staff working together–the staff providing the gentleness of the shepherd, and the rod bringing judgment on His enemies.

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him” (Prv 24:17-18). So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads," says the Lord GOD” (Ez 22:30-31).

A study of intercession, such as Abraham interceding for Lot regarding the coming destruction of Sodom, Moses interceding for Israel preventing God’s destruction of Israel, and other intercessors–Job, Samuel, Daniel, and the prophets, reveals that Christ Jesus “leans on” His people for wisdom (timing–Ecc 8:5-6) in judging them and dealing with their enemies. It is my conviction that the book of Revelation is the outworking of this process as the Lamb/Lion reclaims this fallen planet for Himself and His people–Rev 10:1-11; 12:9-11!

So this nugget of truth from Discovering the Shepherd” is alone worth five stars! Not to mention many other practical applications from the other verses. A wonderful companion to Philip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23."

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