Summary: A sermon about the sheep, the shepherd, the enemies of the church, and the sheep dog
The Sheep, the Shepherd and the Sheep Killer…
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—“
As we study the scriptures, we find that God has an infinity for shepherds. Abraham was a shepherd. Moses was a shepherd for forty years in the wilderness before God called him to be the deliverer of Israel. If you remember, Moses had tried to be a deliverer by violence as a young man, but God did not want a man of war leading His people. He wanted a shepherd. There is no doubt that the rod of Moses was a shepherd’s staff.
The twenty-third Psalm is one of the most quoted verses of the entire Bible. It was penned by King David, who began his life as a shepherd of his father’s sheep. David knew what it meant to be a shepherd. He knew what it meant to watch over sheep, with his rod and staff, his shepherds sling in his belt. He knew what it meant to lead the sheep through the wilderness, to cool, green pastures, and clear, running water.
Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
David understood sheep. He understood their nature, and he understood their needs. He also understood predators. When Saul doubted David’s credentials in a fight against the giant Goliath, a man of war, David explained he was a shepherd. As a shepherd, he killed the predators that came after the sheep. He risked his life to save the sheep out of the mouth of the lion. Is it any wonder that The Lord called David a man after God’s own heart?
Sheep are led.
The shepherd guides the sheep. The sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd’s guidance. There is no committee decision among the sheep. They do not need to know the way through the wilderness. They do not need to worry about where the good grass is. They simply need to hear the voice of the shepherd, and to follow Him wherever he leads. The sheep learn to trust the shepherd, if the shepherd is a good shepherd. If the sheep will hear His voice, and simply trust the shepherd, they will be led to good pasture. Their needs will be met. We never see the sheep going before the shepherd, and the shepherd following behind. That would be an unnatural occurrence. Instead, we see the sheep following the shepherd. The shepherd goes first, and the sheep follow after. If we would only learn to trust the shepherd, life would be less stressful. Jesus said not to worry. Just trust in God. He will never lead you astray. He will take care of you. He did not bring us this far to abandon us to the elements of this world. The shepherd knows where He is leading us. The sheep do not need to know where he is leading. They simply need to trust Him, to follow Him wherever He leads. Trust Him. Know Him. Hear His voice.
Sheep are helpless.
When you consider the sheep, one thing becomes very apparent. They are not equipped for battle. They have no defensive or offensive weapons. They do not have canine teeth or the claws of a predator. Nor are they camouflaged, or swift. Frankly, the sheep are completely defenseless, and totally helpless. They have a natural gentle disposition. Without the shepherd, the sheep have no real protection whatsoever. Sheep do not make the greatest stories for hunters to tell. Hunters brag often about the magnificent beast, the dangerous predator they risked their lives to stalk, to hunt. They love to display their trophies, a ferocious lion, or a powerful bear. But there are no real bragging rights when hunting a sheep. There is no danger involved at all. Sheep are harmless. Sheep are easy prey.