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Sunday: A Guide for the Journey ~ The Shepherd — 16 Comments

  1. As a child growing up, I never worried about where my next meal would come from. I knew my father would take care of me. In fact, until his death at 83 year old, I was like a child would just depend on him. When I told my father my burden, I knew they would be resolved.
    I understand we live in a imperfect world not all of us may have the luxury of having a great father (shepherd) who took care of us.
    14 I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep.
    John 10:14-15
    I don’t know the circumstances and the background of each person reading this post.
    When we trust in Him, God the good shepherd will lead us.

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  2. Some readers may be more familiar with the metaphor of a shepherd than others. For those who are no so familiar with such, what alternative 'picture' to a shepherd might help communicate the idea of someone who is totally committed to being with you to lead, guide and care for you - especially when things are rough (Romans 8:32)?

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    • A Shepherd Looks at Psam 23Thinking of other metaphors may be helpful, but I suspect there's none so fitting as the shepherd metaphor, once we understand it. Although I did know sheep as a child, I thought I'd try to understand the "shepherd" model better and just picked up A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, written by W. Phillip Keller who has firsthand experience with sheep management in an environment not so much different than ancient Palestine. (Click here for Australian link.) Just starting the book, but it is highly rated by over 4000 readers.

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      • I have now read several chapters, including one in the middle of the book. It reminded me of passing flocks of sheep on the road near our home in the mountains of British Columbia as they traveled to and from their summer pasture in the high country. I found the spiritual applications both surprising and refreshing. I highly recommend this little book.

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      • Wonderful!! Thanks, Inge. I love it - The same thoughts expressed in so many different ways. No one is left out. I recommend it also. As a matter of fact, I think we can modify it to our own situations. The Lord truly is my Shepherd and I am His sheep. Blessings to you my sister.

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    • I love the idea of the shepherd imagery. It takes me places I've never been before physically and spiritually. However, my experiences and the news causes me to think about teachers of small children.
      Perhaps it was recess time, a favorite among children, their version of pasture. . Using their voice ,or a signal, a call to line up had the little ones leaving whatever they were doing and coming to line up by the door. Before leaving the building, it was our task to count them. We would compare the numbers when they returned. After playtime, at the sound of voice, a whistle or a bell they would separate themselves from other classes of children still playing to line up and be counted once again. This counting is especially important on a Field Trip! A missing child is not acceptable. Fortunately, it was usually a child who had not heard the call or who wanted to play a little longer. Sometimes it would be a child who was lost or had wandered away.
      The teachers carried water and a first-aid kit to the playground. None of the little ones would lack for a little TLC or remedy for a small wound. The children could not be left alone so arrangements would be made with another teacher so that the wounded child would be carried to the infirmary or nurses' office if the injury required.
      The teacher would guide the entire class back inside, all members accounted for. In recent times we've seen teachers shielding students from attackers and losing their own lives. Yes, I can see how teachers might be a modern day shepherd or shepherdess, at least for a portion of the day.
      Jesus, in my mind is so much more than shepherds , caregivers or teachers.

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    • The pilot/co-pilot analogy, only Jesus is the Pilot and I the co-pilot. This is a side-by-side analogy such as the one Jesus used of a yoked pair of oxen (Matt. 11:29). Jesus calls that relationship "restful" for us. Learning about Jesus as we work with Him, taking up a cross with Him, is His way to peace in suffering.

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  3. What a comforting thought that Jesus knows me and understands my personality type, my motivations, my experiences in life, my education, my level of spiritual maturity.
    My desire is to learn to know the character of the LORD more and more every day.

    I have discovered when sharing the Good News I need to know my friend's point of view on the matter as well.

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  4. I grew up on a mixed dairy/sheep farm in New Zealand. Jersey cows and Romney-Southdown Cross sheep were a very big part of my early life. My grandfather was the shepherd. He knew his sheep. We did not have a big flock - only 200 ewes and about 4 rams. But Grandad knew his sheep so well that he often surprised me. I would go out with him and he would say, "That's the sheep we assisted with lambing last Sunday.", or, "There is a sheep that is missing. It's the one with a slightly skewed ear!" And we would keep looking until we found it. He assisted their lambing, supervised their breeding, cut off their tails (and other parts when necessary), brought lambs home as pets when they lost their mothers, and provided humane death at the appropriate times. I learned a lot about life from watching Grandad with the sheep. Not only did I learn about the shepherd, I learned a lot about headstrong, wayward, obstinate, stubborn sheep. Most people think of sheep as stupid. That is an anthropomorphic projection of our own making because they often choose their way of doing things rather than ours.

    The idea of Jesus as a shepherd resonates well with me.

    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isa 53:6KJV

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    • Maurice, I always look forward to your SS contributions. Today however I sitting here, my mind was blown!! What you wrote "I learned a lot about headstrong, wayward, obstinate, stubborn sheep. Most people think of sheep as stupid." That was me thinking that sheep are stupid! Then you added, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isa 53:6KJV This verse now makes so much more sense to me!! The use of sheep to represent humanity and Jesus as the GOOD Shepard is so much clearer now.

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  5. However much a shepherd may love his sheep, Jesus loves his sons and daughters more. He is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” John 10:14, 15, R. V.

    Just look at that comparison, He takes the communion between Himself and the eternal God to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth! What more will we need?

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  6. Right from the start of creation, we have a BROODING Spirit (as Milton puts it) hovering lovingly over creation, bringing order and beauty from the deep.
    This brooding Spirit is the motivation in God for children in his image and likeness, in his qualities, attributes and character. A good shepard will die for his sheep, a bad shepard will abandon them.
    John 10:11, Luke 13:34, psalm 33:4-9,
    Shalom
    🙏

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  7. What do we mean or understand when we refer to Jesus as our Shepherd? Do we mean ‘Him’ caring for us, teaching us, guiding us, protecting us, etc.? How does He do that – do we know for sure how He does that? If we know all that which Jesus represents, what He is 'about', can we deduct from that what He wants us to know and how to apply it?

    As believers, do we look at Jesus as a historical figure who, theological speaking, was the Son of God, or do we see in Him the Son of Man – just like us? Was He born fully prepared to face all difficulties in His life, or did He have to learn to trust and lean on the heavenly Father and His spirit of Life just like we do? Did He show us how we can have life by the same spirit that lived in Him and which He embraced wholeheartedly? Remember, “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because He was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin?”- Heb.4:15.

    Jesus as the Shepherd is the embodyment, our example, of God’s spirit of loving kindness, mercy and grace. We who believe have received His Holy Spirit to teach us to learn - like Jesus had to learn - to lean on and trust the Father’s spirit for and in all things regarding life. Jesus, the Son of Man's devoted faithfulness lead him to the cross, and the Father’s faithfulness raised Him up to sit next to Him in His heavenly kingdom.
    This is the invitation He extends to all mankind who believe as Jesus believed – John10:27-28 - ”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

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  8. Do I know the Shepherd? John 17:3 tells me that life eternal is to KNOW Jesus Christ and the Father.

    Psalm 23 is maybe my favorite Scripture. It is the only chapter of the Bible I have memorized. I recently learned that it is significantly nested chronologically. Psalm 22 is prophetically referring to the Good Shepherd gaining life for the sheep upon the cross. Psalm 24 is the Shepherd appearing as the King of Glory after His resurrection. Psalm 22 is the Cross (from before the foundation of the world cf. Rev. 13:8), Psalm 23 is the Crook (life's journey following the Shepherd), and Psalm 24 is the Crown (an eternal life of glory with Him). We're all living in Psalm 23 right now (between Creation and Heaven): the Biblical men and women of faith did, Jesus Himself did (as both the Shepherd and the Sheep and the Door to the fold and the food and Living Water (Rev. 7:17 KJV) and everything!).

    To say, "The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want" is such a strong personal statement of faith, written by one of the most famous kings. David had a turbulent life, full of hardships and betrayal as a warrior, a king, a husband, a father, a poet...and he made sure to tell us that his life and accomplishments would all be in vain without trust and faith in God his Shepherd. He makes another powerful testimony statement in Psalm 37:25-26 KJV when he says, "I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken...He is ever merciful..." This relationship, us and God, is the ONLY one that is a constant presence and lasts this lifetime, before it and beyond it. Recall when Jacob was giving his final blessings, he, too, named Jehovah/Jesus his "own Shepherd all my life long to this day" (Gen. 48:15 CJB).

    There is no point in David's and Jacob's life when you don't meet with almighty God. Is that true of me too? When I tell my story is it all about how I am a sheep - can't defend myself, have had the very Best Shepherd since the minute I was born tenderly caring for me day and night? Can I share that I have chosen the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as MY Shepherd...that I follow Him and He follows me with mercy and grace? (I love Priscilla's analogy of a preschool teacher! With Ps. 23:6 I picture my experiences following the toddler in the schoolyard, guiding from behind so the little one could experience independence and challenging experiences without real danger.)

    This Shepherd is not an indefinite spiritual idea or subjective revelation to my soul and best kept vague when sharing. Jesus is very clear that He is the One and Only Good Shepherd (Jn 10:14). His Voice is the only One I want to follow, the only One qualified to know me intimately. The only One I've experienced to really understand me and truly comfort me. I am SO grateful to God to have discovered that time in the Word and prayer (which is a conversation all day long) nurtures me like nothing else!

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  9. We have the great Shepherd in the name of Our Lord Jesus. The cares, the strengthen, He heals, He is our only hope.

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