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My Shepherd

God is pictured lots of ways in the Bible. Our Rock, our Strong Tower, our Light, our Shield. But probably my favorite is Shepherd. Now I’ve never been a shepherd or even known a shepherd here on earth. So I have to rely on what others know first hand about shepherding in order to understand the real meaning of that depiction.

Here’s what a shepherd does. He leads. He protects. He provides. He comforts. He heals. Simple words. Complex implications. For example, guiding involves knowing the way. The best way for the sheep to get from one point to another – over rough terrain and sometimes through dangerous environments. It includes prodding and nudging in the right direction. Firmly, but gently keeping the flock in tow. And isn’t that just what God does for us?

We are the other part of the picture. The sheep. And what is entailed in that description? From what I have learned, sheep tend to wander. They don’t have a good sense of direction. They are practically defenseless. They need protection. They don’t do well alone. They thrive in community and desperately need a shepherd. Someone to care for and guide them. Can you see yourself in that picture? Or do you think you can make it on your own? There’s room for individualism and standing on our own two feet, so to speak, on the Christian journey. But when we get too cocky and sure of ourselves, we end up in trouble. Remember: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, NKJV).

Jesus assured His disciples that He was the Good Shepherd. (Read about it in John 10:11-15.) That assumes that there are bad shepherds. What does the Good Shepherd do? He gives His life for the sheep. What does the bad shepherd do? He abandons the sheep. He leaves them open to destruction. Quite the contrast, right? Aren’t you glad you belong to the good one?

Jesus is also referred to as the “Great Shepherd” in one of my favorite benedictions: “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV). That’s my prayer for you today. How about praying that over someone you know?

“My Shepherd” from “Serenity”

DJK

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