Tag Archives: sheep

The Good Shepherd

I was reading in John 10 this morning, and remembered something my pastor shared when he spoke on this text a few weeks ago. Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd as well as the door for the sheep. Maybe you already knew this, but this is what I learned:

Shepherds were with their sheep 24/7. They spoke to the sheep often so that they would recognize the shepherd’s voice. The more time the shepherds spent speaking to the sheep, the more familiar their voices became to their flock. Because there were times even shepherds needed a hot meal and a good night’s sleep.

Occasionally, the shepherds would lead their flocks into town, and put them in a community pen with sheep from other flocks. There was a gate and a guard to keep the sheep secure while the shepherd went home for a few hours. (I like thinking of Jesus as the gate, keeping me safe and secure, too).

In the morning, the shepherd fully rested, would go to the pen and begin talking. His sheep would hear his voice and go to him. The other sheep would simply ignore him. Those sheep did not recognize the shepherd’s voice. The shepherd would gather his flock and be on his way, leaving the others behind.

The question is, have I spent enough time with my Good Shepherd so that I know his voice? Have I devoured Scripture, spent time in prayer, listened to sound teaching so that I can distinguish my Shepherd’s voice from all other voices that are calling to me?

Or do I follow many voices, follow many ideas, believe things to be true that are not Scriptural, following this one, then that like a lost lamb? Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and follow him. Does that describe me? Describe you?

May it be so.

My Dear Good Shepherd, thank you for your voice that calls to me from your Holy Word. Thank you for the promptings that lead me where you want me to go. Thank you for loving me, caring for me, protecting me from the enemy who would destroy me if he could. May I stay close enough to you that I not only recognize your voice, but can ignore Satan’s voice as well. And may I follow you wherever you lead.

August 27

Ezekiel 34-36

When Jesus talked about the sheep in Matthew 18, the people no doubt recalled what Ezekiel had written so many years before. They knew sheep referred to them and assured them that God would take care of them.

I’ve heard it said sheep are dumb animals that don’t have the sense enough to stay in safety. Once they recognize their shepherd’s voice, they follow it even if it leads them over a cliff. A former pastor once said we were to follow Christ like that, and I guess I see where he was going. We need to trust God completely, even if we don’t understand where he’s leading us.

Anyway – today as I read I was reminded that sheep were very important to the people in Bible times. They were a source of income, they provided food and clothing, and the choicest of them became sacrifices for sin.

It’s not that God chose the dumbest animal on the farm to use for an example of his people. He chose the most important animal to show where we stand in creation. 

Ezekiel and Jesus show us that God considers each one of the sheep (you and me) precious. He will go to any length to protect and nurture the weakest, to keep the strongest in the fold, and he’ll hunt us down if we stray.

I like being a sheep. I like knowing my Shepherd has my back. I don’t want to follow him blindly, but I want to follow him trusting him because he can be trusted. I want to know my Shepherd’s voice so that when the wolf comes calling I’ll know the difference and stay close to my Protector. 

My Dear Shepherd, thank you for loving your sheep. Thank you for caring for us, for protecting us, feeding us, leading us. May we listen when you call, obey when you command, and may we not stray. Hold on to your people, Lord, so the nations will recognize you are God and there is no better place to be than by your side.