The One True God is our Good Shepherd
by Gini Crawford, MSW
Our true Shepherd
God in His infinite love and wisdom knew we needed a shepherd. The One True God is this Shepherd. He came to guide and protect, and to give us exactly what we need in this troubling world. God dying for our sins allowed Him to lovingly care for us as a shepherd would.
Behold the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him... Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. / All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all, to fall on Him. / For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. / They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Isaiah 40:10-11, 53:6; 1 Peter 2:25; Revelation 7:16-17 NASB®
A shepherd was leading his sheep to fresh range grass when a wild dog tried to kill a lamb. The shepherd with his rod scared it off, then lifted up the lamb to comfort and heal it. I certainly act like a sheep - lost, afraid, and needing to be shown the way. We are all like sheep who desperately need the One True God to lovingly shepherd us.
The Good Shepherd
This comparison of two shepherds gives a life view of John chapter ten: There were two sheep ranches near each other in Africa. The one was managed by a hired hand who wasn't concerned about the sheep. He didn't care if the sheep ate, or were eaten by predators. The sheep didn't trust the hired shepherd and would flee. The other ranch was run by the owner, who lovingly shepherded his sheep. He was diligent to keep his fields full of green grass for his flock to eat, to protect them by constant surveillance, and to gently lead and guide them. The sheep knew this shepherd's voice and loved to follow him.
Jesus said..."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 is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees... He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep... For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again... My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:10-30 NASB®
In John chapter ten, Jesus calls Himself our Good Shepherd, Who willingly gave His life for His sheep (us) so we could have eternal life, never perish, and be in His loving hands forever. While others may promise to care for us, and even give their all for us, yet as life goes, people can only do so much and some even flee. Yet, our Shepherd will never let us down or flee. He gave His life to care for us, save us from harm and to keep us securely in Him. Comforting reality living in our Shepherd's loving hands, isn't it?
Following our Good Shepherd
Our Good Shepherd, Jesus, knows His sheep (us) intimately, and He calls to us to follow Him over the many paths of life. Some of these paths can be very difficult and others not, but no matter how our path is, our Shepherd is leading us to His heavenly pasture. When your Shepherd calls to you, do you hear Him and follow, or wander without Him? Remember, His way is life eternal and life abundant; our way is, well, maybe temporarily satisfying, but after that not so much. (John 10:1-4, 10, 27-28).
To follow your Shepherd you need to be listening to His voice calling to you through His Word. If you are willing to walk close to your Shepherd by following His Word, He will lead you to His pastures, bringing a joy and contentment that only He can give. Troubles will always come and give you wobbly legs or worse, but no matter what, follow your Shepherd's voice and He will lovingly lead you through it all. Don't forget, you do have an eternity of trouble-free living just waiting for you in heaven because of your Shepherd. (Psalm 78:1, 119:105; Isaiah 40:11; Revelations 7:16-17).
Our Shepherd tenderly cares for us
I think most people know and love Psalm twenty-three; it is the Psalm which paints a vivid picture of our Shepherd's great love and care for us.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I 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 have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23 NASB®
Psalm twenty-three describes how the LORD our Shepherd cares for us: He gives us physical nourishment and spiritual restoring. He gives us His righteousness and leads us in righteousness. His death and presence allow us to have no fear as we walk through the shadow of death and evil. Our Shepherd's rod and staff guide us, and bring us His comfort and protection. He will overflow His blessings to us here and throughout eternity. His goodness and love will be with us always, and we will literally dwell with Him forever. Yes, we surely have all we want in Jesus, our Good Shepherd. These are undoubtedly wonderful promises to ponder, aren't they?
My daughter loves Psalm twenty-three, and memorized it as a child. She is the artist who drew the sheep drawings in this book.
Our Shepherd is our peace.
The world around us is full of troubles and worries, isn't it? The weeds grow, the dog barks too much, the computer has a virus, jobs disappear, cars don't work, paychecks aren't enough, accidents happen, cancer hits, people fight, and so on. Will we ever have the peaceful existence we long for? Yes, in our Good Shepherd. Trust in Him. Seek Him. He promises to guide us through the worries of this world, and to lead us to a beautiful eternal serenity that He gave His life for. (Matthew 6:25-34; Revelations 7:16-17).
The fears of our world are troubling and tend to rob us of peace, don't they? There are those non-existent fears we all had as kids, and as adults we can definitely worry about things that will probably never happen. There are also those real fears that we need to deal with quite a bit, because sin has made this a fearful world. In Revelation chapter one Jesus reassuringly says, "Do not be afraid." He can say this with absolute confidence - because of Who He is and what He has done for us (Revelation 1:17-18).
When the dark clouds of fear surround you, remember Who your Shepherd is, and what He has done for you. Reach out to Him in prayer. He will tenderly lead you to a peace that isn't of this world (Psalm 4:8, 139: 7-12; John 14:25-27, 16:33; Philippians 4:5b-9).
The end is just the beginning with God
Psalm twenty-three describes the One True God as our Shepherd like no other passage. Read Psalm 23. What do these verses tell you about God, our Shepherd? What do they say to you personally?
List some reasons you are glad Jesus is your Shepherd.
When you have the time, memorize Psalm twenty-three. I had it memorized decades ago and after I wrote today's devotion, I memorized it again. What a spiritual encouragement it has been for me to mentally meditate on each and every verse from this passage.
After studying about the One True God in this study, explain in a paragraph how you feel about Him now.
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