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The Shepherd’s Quake

The new year is as good as any time to develop a healthy appreciation and amazement of God. Unfortunately, it often takes some sort of accident that can scare the hell out of you. Something about surviving a near death experience causes your body to shake like the shepherd’s quake in the passage below. As you replay this event in your mind, goosebumps may appear all over your arms with your hair sticking straight up.

And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened, Luke 2:8-9.

This shepherd’s quake recorded by Luke appears to be more out of fear as encounters with angels in the Old Testament were a sign of your pending death. As this angel recognized their astonishment and shock, there was an immediate call to calm down and relax. Although Luke doesn’t mention facial expressions, upon hearing the great news of a Savior being born, this shepherd’s quake transitioned from fear to jubilee.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. 11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! – Luke 2:10-11

The author of one New Testament book uses fear on two occasions to invoke a sense of spiritual urgency in Hebrews 6:1-6 and Hebrews 10:26-27. Meanwhile, the apostle Paul call an entire congregation to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12. Just as God taught Moses about walking on holy ground in Exodus, modern day Christians need to enter God’s presence with reverence. While it will take time to break bad habits from your past, emulating the shepherd’s quake as your worship the Lord will help transform your mind about how to approach God in prayer to get His attention.

by Jay Mankus

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