A Devotion for 10 September 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“ 9. . . . Behold your God! 10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
The Bosom of the Lord is the very center of His mighty Heart! Three is no better or safer place to be embraced than in that great Bosom. It is a place where the world cannot enter – either danger of fire, war, flood, or sword. Mr. Charles Wesley made wonderful allusion to that Bosom in his great hymn, “Jesus Lover of My Soul” in 1740. I quote the first two verses below:
1 Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high;
hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past;
safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last!
2 Other refuge have I none;
hangs my helpless soul on thee;
leave, ah! leave me not alone,
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
all my help from thee I bring;
cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of thy wing.
I once read, I know not if true, that Wesley was inspired to write this hymn when, as he gazed out his window, a bird suddenly flew into the blouse of his shirt sinking shelter from a pursuing hawk. Though today’s writing is not a hymn devotion, I believe the sentiments Wesley evokes are an encouragement to all of us. His hymn is, however, directed more to the close of life, and this devotion emphasizes the entire life issues of being in the Bosom of the Lord – from infancy to elder adulthood.
Having lived in the Mideast for many years, I am well aware of the habits of the shepherds of the hills and mountains there who call each of their charges by their names – and the sheep know their names. . I have seen their precious creatures carried both on the shoulders of the shepherds as well as in their bosoms. The difference is based on the maturity of the sheep. A full-grown sheep that is sick or hurt may be carried on the shoulders or the back of the shepherd; but, without exception, the shepherd will carry the little lambs in his bosom – next to his heart. I will remind you that we are all little lambs in the eyes of the Lord if we have that faith of a little child, we have fallen short of the Kingdom of Heaven: “2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” MATTHEW 18:2-3
The Bosom of Christ is the abode of all faithful Christians. When we have divested of our old self-wills and taken upon our vesture His Holy will, we have entered in where no stranger dare trod – the Heart and Bosom of the Lord. We enter into Christ by the Door of the sheepfold – and He is also the Door (John 10). The Heart of the Lord is the center of all love and mercy. Being entered into that glorious abode, we are safe from the coming wrath which shall surely befall this sinful world. But being in Christ offers another comfort – we are One in Christ just as He is One with the Father. Therefore, we are also One with the Father when in Christ. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” John 14:10
Every loving parent bears their children in their bosom in a figurative sense – the same sense in which Christ bears the believer. “Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?” NUMBERS 11:12 It is the bosom that represents the heart. The heart represents our love and loyalty. When we are called and chosen in Christ, He enters in our hearts to abide forever; and we enter into His heart in which there can be loss or sorrow.
The Bosom of Christ is the very fountain of LOVE. John was the beloved disciple for whom Christ held a special regard and affection. The Gospel of St. John is filled with imperatives of love. Remember how John demonstrated his endearment to our Lord at the Last Supper: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” JOHN 13:23 I do not believe this verse means that our Lord loved John actually more than the other disciples, but, owing to the tender age of John, the Lord knew the innocence and love of John better. How we love little children whose hearts are filled with innocence and love even if they are strangers to us!
Here follows a fitting benediction to our devotion today. Read and contemplate on the beauty of these verses:
“22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. * * 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: * 28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”
The Lord loves innocence of character. He rejoices in taking such who are innocent in desire, motive, and work into His Bosom of Love and security.
Have you found an abode in the Bosom of the Lord?