Summary: As we think of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd, let us consider why a shepherd purchases and raises a flock of sheep.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
A Question: “If the Lord is my shepherd, what does that tell me about myself?” There is one thing we Christians need to get clear in our minds, and that is, “who He is” and “who we are”.
IF THE LORD IS OUR SHEPHERD THAN WE ARE HIS SHEEP
“Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3
As we think of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd, let us consider why a shepherd purchases and raises a flock of sheep. A person might own one or two lambs as pets for his children but when we talk about a flock of sheep it is far different matter. A shepherd keeps sheep to bring him pleasure and profit. As Rick Warren says in “The Purpose Driven Life”. “You were made by God and for God---and until you understand that, life will never make sense.” Let us see how the Scripture drives this point home.
In regard to pleasing God, we read in I John 3:22, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Psalm 149:4 tells us “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.”
Regarding both pleasure and profit, Colossians 1:10 encourages us to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Again, in regard to profit, Jesus said “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8).
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SHEEP (CHILDREN OF GOD)
“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 55:6,
It is no coincidence that the Lord chose the analogy of sheep to symbolize His people. Consider these characteristics of sheep.
1. Sheep are not the most intelligent of God’s creatures. Assuming that man is, yet, how often do we ask “Why did I do such a thing?”
2. Sheep are given to waywardness: “All we like sheep have gone astray …” The poet was right when he wrote:
“It was a sheep, not a lamb, that went astray, in the parable that Jesus told.
It was a sheep, not a lamb that wandered away from the Shepherd and the fold.”
Little lambs stay close to their mother so as not to miss their dinner. But little lambs grow up to be sheep, and with it, the tendency to wander or stray away. So it is with one’s spiritual life. If we, as little lambs, stay close to our Shepherd, we will be less prone to stray. It is no great stretch to think that Jesus saw the little children that were brought to Him that they might be blessed by Him as little lambs in His flock. Consider: “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.” Mark 10:13-16.
3. Sheep are obstinate creatures. “We have turned, every one, to his own way.” We read in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” All of us (and some more than others) are given to obstinacy and self-will. Staying near the Shepherd in our daily life will help us “deny self and follow Him”.
4. Sheep are not resourceful creatures. Sheep must be led from pasture to pasture, if not, the flock will stay on depleted soil until they die.
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT JESUS, OUR SHEPHERD
1. He is the good Shepherd:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, 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.” John 10:11-14.