I've been studying the book of Zechariah during my quiet time these days through John MacArthur's Book Bible Studies available in his website Grace To You. It has been a tremendous help for me to better understand our God in the Old Testament. It has given me a lot of insight about our God.
And yesterday, while studying the book through the help of John MacArthur's study on the book, he shared a story which is so profound that I just need also to share with everyone-
I always think about the story of the actor who went to the sort of a drawing room function. And there was a lady there, a fancy place, you know, ladies had their glasses on a stick, you know, one of those old fancy deals. So this one lady who was the hostess came to him and said, "Sir, we would like for you to recite for us." So the actor was in his glory, wanted to recite. And wanting to get the benefit of all that he could from his audience and having a rather unlimited repertoire, he said to his audience, "What would you like me to recite?" And there was an old preacher there, probably crashed the party, and he said, "I'd like to hear the twenty-third Psalm." And the actor said, "All right, I'll...I don't prefer to do that, but I'll do it on one condition," hoping that the gentleman would back down on his request, he said, "I'll do it if you'll do it after me."
The old pastor figuring twice is better than once said, "Fine." So the actor began and his intonation was flawless and his diction was beautiful. Masterfully he went through with great intensity the twenty-third Psalm. When he was done, there was applause. And the old preacher, he got up there and he had kind of a ministerial twang and his diction wasn't that hot, his interpretation wasn't so great. He got all done and there wasn't a sound. And there wasn't a dry eye in the place. And the actor was overcome with the silence, stood up and he said, "I think I know the difference. I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd." That's the difference. There are lots of people who know the Psalm, sadly there aren't so many who know the Shepherd.
And it hit me- many claim that they know Jesus. But the difference between those who are like the Actor and those who are like the Pastor- is the HEART. Knowing from the HEAD is different from knowing from the HEART, and knowing from the heart comes from knowing someone intimately. Just like in a relationship, you cannot love someone you don't know.
We become intimate with others by spending more time with them. We get to know everything about them- what they love, what they hate, what pleases them etc. And when we fall in love with the person, we want to please them, we don't want to hurt them.
Same is through with our God. We can only love him wholeheartedly if we spend time with Him and know Him intimately. And we can say we truly love Him when we commit to total obedience of His will. Although there are times when we stumble, He is forgiving and merciful. Although there are times when following His will seems impossible with our own strength, the Holy Spirit's power will strengthen us and make it possible for us.
Spend time with Him and get to know Him intimately by making time to study His word. There you will understand how great, loving, merciful our God is. There you will get to know, not only the Psalm, but the more of the SHEPHERD.