The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. 2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. 3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake, Psalm 23:1-3.
Sheep are mentioned more than 500 in the Bible, more than any other animal. Sheep were important to nomads and the agricultural life of Hebrews in the Old Testament. Whether you’re talking about the 23rd Psalm or the Parable of the Lost Sheep, this animal is used to symbolize the relationship between God and his followers. As you read the beginning of Luke 15, Jesus is like a shepherd who is willing to leave behind the faithful sheep to find the one who has wandered off.
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over, Psalm 23:4-5.
Unfortunately, stubborn individuals are resistant to change. While people may experience moments of guilt from within their conscience to stop what they are doing, the disobedient tend to press on, full steam ahead. Regardless of how pure in heart that you may be, everyone dabbles in rebellion, especially when you come across a rule that doesn’t make any sense. However, until the Biblical Shepherd steers you in the right direction, you’ll do lots of wandering until you find your way home.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep, John 10:10-11.
The disciple whom Jesus loved compared his spiritual leader to a good shepherd. Instead referring to an actual shepherd tending after his sheep, Jesus served as a father figure to shelter human beings from the Devil. While the attacks of this spiritual enemy have continued long after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, just don’t read the Bible, get to know the Good Shepherd, aka God’s one and only son Jesus Christ. As you open the Bible, the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see what it takes to live the abundant life that Jesus promised in the passage above.
by Jay Mankus