The Good Shepherd
I am sure you all seen the heard of sheep and the shepherd who takes care of sheep. Sheep as you know is a weak animal but got a lot of resources from it. From ancient days people tend to grow herds of sheep as a source of living. The ones who take care of sheep are called shepherds. Sheep gives milk, wool and meat which are all valuable resources and they feed on grass which found abundant in the surroundings. Sheep being a weak animal, wild animals always try to grab them as there prey and proper care is needed to take care of them.
A shepherd take care of hundreds of sheep. To understand the difficulties in being a shepherd first you need to understand the nature of sheep. Sheep even though it’s a week animal it never tends to go in a common path like cows. Each sheep try to go in his on path making it hard to the shepherd to take care of them. Imagine hundreds of sheep going in hundred directions! How hard is it to take care of them?! Therefore a lot of patience is needed to take care of sheep. As said sheep being a weak animal it becomes an easy target for wild animals to attack them. So a shepherd need to be extra vigilant to take care of the sheep. It is hard to flock the sheep.The shepherd keeps a stick (rod) and staff to guide the sheep. A stick to hit them to bring them to the correct path as well as to separate the sheep as they fight among themselves and to protect from wild animals and the staff to reach the leaves from the branches of tall trees as well as to reach the sheep if it fall in some deep gutters, dry wells etc. the shepherd also puts some medicated oil to get rid of the harmful bites of insects.
In the evening the shepherd flocks the sheep to the sheep pen. A sheep pen has a unique design by having only one entrance and having high wooden planks around it so that no wild animals can come in and no sheep can jump out of it. When evening dawns the shepherd brings the herd of sheep and let them go in the pen one by one and the shepherd counts them to see if anyone of his sheep are missing. If anyone of his sheep are missing he secures the rest of the sheep in pen and will go search in all places where they been that day until he find the missing sheep and bring it back to the pen. In night the shepherd sleeps across the door as an added protection incase if any wild animal come to get any sheep or any sheep jumps out they have to walk over the shepherd and will wake him from his sleep. Therefore it’s a very hard job and needs a lot of care and attention to take care of the sheep.
This is why in Bible we find in several portions God pictures himself as the good shepherd and the people His sheep. Psalms 23 is a well known Psalms by King David who was once a shepherd in his youth and sings- The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me to lay in the green pastures and leads me to the still waters.”
In Isaiah 40:11 says- He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)
And in John 10: 11 Jesus says- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NIV).
In Mathew 18 Jesus tells the parable of a good shepherd. “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:12-14 NIV)
All God wants us to know is as a shepherd knows all the needs of a sheep like food and water God will provide everything we need in life and as how a good shepherd keeps watch of his sheep God watches over us and protects from all harms. Whenever we go through the hard times of life, when we face problems in life, when we think how to face tomorrow God wants us to know as a good shepherd protects his sheep from wild animals He’s taking good care of you. As a good shepherd carries the young ones in his arms God carries the weak ones in his hearts like how a shepherd slowly walks with the carrying sheep God walks with us slowly right beside us and protects us. As how the good shepherd went back to find the lost sheep God will never leave us alone. He always keeps watch of us. He calls us and guides us in the path of righteousness. All we need to do is to obey him and follow His commands. Sometimes to put us in right track we might get some small hits, but still God loves you and the hits are not to kill us but to bring us back in right path. In John 10 Jesus clearly tells us how closely He watches us. Like without the knowledge of shepherd no wild animals can get into the pen Jesus protects us from all evil and He goes ahead of us to make sure the way is smooth and out of dangers.
Therefore let’s sing along with David and not worry about anything but give ourselves as the good sheep under the good shepherd God and He will guide us to the green pastures and still waters safely.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will 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 anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:1-6 NIV)