The Good Shepherd
“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.”
The shepherd a/k/a sheepherder, lived apart from society, being largely nomadic, and is the person who watches, guides, feeds, or guards the sheep. Their duty is to keep the herd together, protect them from predators, and guide them to market areas in time for shearing (Wikipedia). They also search for the lost one, and take care of the weak, injured, and sick.
From the days of Abraham there have been an abundance of sheep in the Holy Land, and they were an important part of the economy. Sheep are mentioned in the Bible hundreds of times; more than any other animal. When two separate flocks intermingle in a pasture, and are called by their own shepherd, they never mistake their own shepherd's call. In the Bible they were often compared to people by illustrating their helplessness, and dependency on the shepherd.
In 1 Samuel it points out that David in his early years was a shepherd. Because of his experience he could easily illustrate the shepherd-sheep relationship.
In Psalm 23 David describes the Lord as “my Shepherd”. A few of the reasons David states are: He lets me rest in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He guides me along the right paths; and He is with me when I walk through the valley with the shadow of death.
In the Book of Ezekiel the LORD used the example of the shepherd-sheep relationship when He said: “I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered...I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again” (NLT).
Jesus taught about the shepherd-sheep relationship. In Luke 15 Jesus used the illustration of a lost sheep. Sheep that are lost have a tendency to lie down vulnerably and refuse to move. He stated: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (NKJV).
In John 10 Jesus stated: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep...I know my own sheep, and they know me...And I lay down my life for the sheep”. Just as the ancient shepherds cared for their flock; Jesus, the good Shepherd cares for His flock (His followers).
As God's people do you allow the Good Shepherd to guide you, or do you tend to walk your own path? Where are you grazing? Only He knows all the “green meadows” and “still waters”; He will restore your soul; and carry you upon His shoulders when you are one of His flock. Jesus is indeed the “Good Shepherd”!
Lord God, thank You for Your loving concern, and coming to find us when we stray and are lost. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington