Anybody been through some challenges lately? Have you ever felt like you are alone? Well, I have good news for you. You are not!
We have a Good Shepherd who is with us always, providing, protecting, and leading us.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”
Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
Psalm 23 is one of the most famous Psalms which goes beyond just the Church world. It extends into the secular world (films and songs). This Psalm highlights the fact that Jesus is our Great Shepherd and will always lead us to the best life. This does however require us to build a relationship with Him to know Him and follow His lead.
The Gospel of John confirms this reality for us.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling (person employed purely for material reward / self-gain), he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
John 10:11 NKJV
Jesus is not some distant theology or person in history, but He wants to be a part of your history and include you in His story!
The Psalmist in Psalm 23 as well as John identify with the fact that Jesus is a Good Shepherd. If you understand what a Good Shepherd looks like you will begin to understand our Shepherd – Jesus.
There are four main objectives for a Sheppard (this includes your Pastor(s).)
(Below is an extract I found)
1 Flock Welfare (Provider, Nurturer, Comforter, Guide)
A shepherd’s primary responsibility is the safety and welfare of the flock. Some flocks may include as many as 1,000 sheep. The shepherd will graze the animals, herding them to areas of good forage, and keeping a watchful eye out for poisonous plants. In most cases, the shepherd and his dogs will move the sheep out to fresh grazing each day and bring them back to bed down in the same area each night.
2 Protecting From Predators (Shield, Strong-tower, Rear Guard, Hedge of Protection, Rebuke Devourer)
To protect the sheep under his care, a shepherd may use guard dogs or other guard animals. Sheep predators include coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, bears and domestic dogs. In addition to using guard animals, many sheepherders carry rifles to shoot predators that are attacking the sheep.
3 Protecting Health (Redeemed From Sickness and Death)
Like other animals, sheep are susceptible to diseases, and they must also be monitored during the lambing process. They may also be bothered by insects, some of which carry disease. Shepherds are often responsible for minor injuries or basic medical treatment, especially since they work in isolated areas far from veterinary services.
4 Shearing the Flock (Prunes the Branches, Cuts off Dead Branches, Disciplines)
Unlike other animals that shed their hair in the spring, many breeds of sheep must be shorn – have their fleece cut off with shears or clippers. This task may be assigned to sheep shearers, whose primary occupation is shearing, or it may be the responsibility of the shepherd. Sheep may be sheared in the open or in holding pens. An experienced shepherd is expected to shear up to 125 ewes a day without nicking or cutting the skin, and to remove the fleece intact, according to the Mountain Plains Agricultural Service.
As you can see from the above, when we see the objectives of a Shepherd and when we begin to see Jesus as a Shepherd, all of a sudden, we see that Jesus wants to be a part of all aspects of our lives daily. But this requires relationship and trust.
The Book of John clearly highlights that Jesus knows His sheep and that His sheep know Him too. In order for Jesus to be our protector, helper, guide, provider and the one who leads us to a life of abundance, we must know His character, His voice and His leading.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
We all go through seasons and attacks. However, when the Good Shepherd is on your side and in your corner, His Word says we shall not lack, fail, nor decrease.
We are saved by faith into a Kingdom for a relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There are benefits of providence, protection, and guidance in this relationship. Let me encourage you not to fear the shadow of death, but to trust the Great Shepherd who is with you always even unto the end of this age.
I leave you with some answers to one question. How can you know that God will protect, provide, and guide You?
John 10:27-30 – They who know me follow me.
2 Corinthians 1:18-20 – His promises are yes and Amen.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – He will never leave us nor forsake us.
May you become more acquainted with the Good Shepherd – Jesus. May you experience His love, providence, protection and leading like never before.