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How pitiful shepherdless sheep are! Shepherdless sheep become easy prey for wolves, coyotes, and other predators. They can’t outrun them. They can’t outfight them. And what wolf would be scared off by a bleating: baaa? Sheep are left torn and bloodied and dead without a shepherd.

In addition, shepherdless sheep can overgraze a pasture eating the grass down to the dirt so that it can’t grow back. If that’s the pasture they know, they won’t move on to another. If they survive the predators, how easily they could waste away starving to death without a shepherd!

Thirdly, shepherdless sheep can even die due to their own filth. In many places today sheep need their rears regularly sheared. It’s called crutching. Otherwise manure sticks to the wool. Blowflies lay eggs in these dags, and within a day the maggots begin burrowing into the sheep’s skin. A fly-blown sheep is a sickening sight.

How pitiful shepherdless sheep are!

And his shepherd’s heart goes out to you, dear friend, to you. For without him we are shepherdless sheep. Without him we fall easy prey to that ravenous wolf named Satan. His teeth tear us to shreds with his lies and deceptions. We need our Shepherd! Without him we spiritually starve to death unable to find the green pastures that restore our soul. Like the dusty dirt of overgrazed land, the empty promises and senseless pleasures of this world cannot bring true nourishment or life. We need our Shepherd! Without him the filth of our own sin clings to us breeding the maggots of guilt that burrow deep into our conscience. We need our Shepherd!

He cut away the filth that we had soiled ourselves with, and he pulls out the maggots of guilt from your conscience as his voice assures you: "I, Jesus, your Shepherd, have taken away all your sins and washed you clean in my blood. For I laid down my life for you, my sheep. You are fully forgiven. Be of good cheer." Listen to his voice, for only his word brings you this good news.

For you he faced down Satan, that ravenous wolf and prowling lion, and with his truth he continues to protect you from Satan’s lies and deceptions. His voice calls to you, "Fear not, little lamb, only hold on to my word of truth. It will not fail, for I, your Shepherd, have taken up my life again in victory. Follow me and shut your ears to Satan’s seductive purring. Listen to my voice, for my word of truth protects you."

And he feeds you, dear Christian, with the green pastures of his word. He brings you life and nourishment through his teaching. His voice invites you, "Come, all who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Come, drink the living water flowing from the Scriptures. Come, feast on this life-giving food that alone truly satisfies. Come and be filled." Yes, dear friend, listen to your Shepherd’s voice.

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