The Shepherd’s Lamb

Unfinished projects. My life is far too full of those! So, to overcome this unbecoming characteristic of quitting before completion, I have a new resolution: before this pregnancy ends I want to have completed all the projects I come across that have already been started.

One that I’m particularly excited about is a poem I started 2 years ago. It’s very special to me; never before has a character become so “alive” to me in writing than this shepherd boy who is the subject of the poem. It’s written to a tune that came to me at the same time as the words, but the idea was to have it split up into a number of songs, because it will be rather lengthy. I hit a snag when the very best part was coming because I didn’t know how to capture it in the beauty that it’s worthy of, so it has been put away…for 2 whole years!

Here is the first “installment” of the poem:

The Shepherd’s Lamb

As a shepherd young in Judah’s hills I watched my father’s sheep
But on this night my heart did yearn so much I could not sleep
I thought of David young and bold, a shepherd just as I
Whom God anointed, made a king, and said, Who would not lie
That of his seed would come a King to sit upon his throne
Who in all righteousness would rule, Whom God would call His Son
And with His sword upon His thigh in majesty and might
Would with success reign by His truth, by meekness, and by right

I thought as well of David psalms writ from my heart as his
Beseeching God for mercy and His cleansing from all sins
“Purge Thou me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall then be clean,
Whiter than the snow, if Thou dost wash me, shall I be”
But where, I wondered is this found, this hyssop that may cleanse?
What did Israel’s sweet Psalmist have in mind when this he penned?
How may I be washed cleaner, even whiter than the snow?
My sins from me as far as East from West be made to go?

For though from this flock is taken out the goodliest young lamb
That myself took care of, nurtured, from the day he left his dam,
I find no true atonement when for me his blood is shed
My guilt lies just as heavy then as ere the beast had bled
That God Himself would bear the branch! Ah! this must be his thought!
His sprinkling with waters pure must make all sin but naught
Thereby would perfect grace be found and truest life be known
The joy of His salvation would then within me be sown

O Lord! that even now would come that King in majesty!
That I might kneel before Him, cast myself down at His feet
And learn of Thy salvation full, that I might drink and sup
In pastures green, of waters still, that overflowing cup
I hunger Lord, I hunger so, I thirst for righteousness
To be, as David spoke of, in that place of blessedness
My sins all fully covered and transgressions all forgiv’n
Iniquity unreckoned when confession I have giv’n

But though I weep and cry with buried face in lamb’s warm wool
And its coat is greatly dampened, yet I still do not feel whole
My tears do just as much as does the lamb slain in my place
For redemption they are empty and they can bestow no grace
I’ve sought Thee Lord with all my heart and with my whole desire
Oh that Thy mercy seat were here that I might there inquire!
How canst Thou purge me, O my God? with what shall I be washed?
And when, O Lord, shall this take place? for I, Thy sheep, am lost

Make haste, I pray, to help me, for I cannot find my way
Thy fold I gladly now would dwell in, fain would ever stay
Though enemies encompass ’round, my greatest are within
I feel that I shall perish from the weight of all my sin
Yet Thou art great, O Lord, my God, in kindness and in truth
Thy compassions never failing, and Thy mercies ever new
With this recalled unto my mind I know that I have hope
And in it I shall wait for Thee, Thy way to me to show


There’s another part written to it, but since I hadn’t read and reread it as many times as the first part, I don’t have it committed to memory. When I’ve been able to unpack my notebook, I’ll post the second installment.


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