The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

sheep

 

 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.”                                                                                Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-16a

I recently heard a story about “bummer lambs.” These lambs are those who, for a variety of reasons, are rejected by their mothers. It can be due to the mother being old or ill. Sometimes she has twins and is unable to feed all of her babies. In any case, these lambs will die without care from their shepherd. The shepherd takes the lamb into his home and bottle feeds and cares for it until it’s strong enough to return to the flock. Once it returns, whenever the shepherd calls the sheep, the bummer lambs run first to their shepherd. The story that was shared talked about how we are all “bummer lambs” and that Jesus, our Good Shepherd, saves, feeds and cares for us just like a shepherd does with his sheep.

Although the passage above in Ezekiel was referencing Israel, God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  We can look to His care and concern for us today just as He did for Israel in the Old Testament. Because I am a “word nerd”, I love to go through Scripture and highlight words that God is showing me. In this passage, the phrases that stood out to me are:

 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.”            

There is such comfort in this! He takes care of me. Just as sheep are defenseless without their shepherd looking out for them, I, too, need my Good Shepherd!! What a wonderful reminder that when life is hard, pain is present, and my heart is sorrow-filled, I have a God who is rescuing, caring and strengthening me!

Jesus continues using sheep as a metaphor when He teaches in John Chapter 10 that He is our Good Shepherd and just like the “bummer lambs” who run to their shepherd, we too, listen to the voice of our Shepherd.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”                                                                                                 John 10:1-4

And finally, Jesus the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.

 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”               John 10:7-14

May the Good Shepherd uphold and strengthen you as you listen for His voice in His Word, run to Him in your pain, and rejoice that His payment on the cross for your sins was enough to save you.

Lisa Smeaton

Children’s Ministries Director

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: