Monday, September 24th
Picture: Sheep (the Good Shepherd)
Scripture: Psalm 23; Isaiah 40:11; 1 Peter 5:7.
Write any thoughts or words that speak to you as you read these Bible verses.
Post: The dictionary says a shepherd is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep. Imagine for a minute a modern day shepherd tending to his sheep. See him leading , protecting, grooming, and feeding all his sheep. It seems like it would take a tremendous amount of patience and care to make sure these "not very smart" animals stay on the right path out of harms way. What would happen if the shepherd didn't watch every single sheep to make certain it was going the right way? What would happen if he didn't make certain the sheep had food and water or didn't tend to their needs when they were sick? The livelihood of the sheep depends on what this shepherd does or doesn't do. He knows far more than these animals ever will. They are completely incapable of flourishing without their shepherd. In fact, they are completely incapable of even taking care of their basic needs to stay alive for very long without their shepherd.
Just as the modern day shepherd cares for his flock, our Shepherd knows what is best for His flock. He knows the "green pastures" and "quiet waters" that will restore us. I love the picture I have in my head when I read Isaiah 40:11. "He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those who have young". When I read that I am reminded that I am small and helpless enough for the Shepherd to find it necessary to very gently pick me up and put me in his arms close to his heart. Even as an adult this applies to me. What an amazing picture this is of love and care. Our society tells us to be self reliant; take care of yourself by making YOUR plan towards a healthy and successful life. Be strong- do it on your own. In reality, strength and stability don't come when we are pulling ourselves up by our bootstaps and doing it all on our own. Real strength comes from surrendering our will or our plan and allowing that Shepherd to hold, guide, tend, feed, love, and protect. He is the One with THE plan for our life. We really are the "not very smart" sheep that must be reliant on our Shepherd to do His work. That's freeing to me when I think about all that it means. He is SO much more than we allow Him to be in our lives. Apart from Him we are no more equipped to care properly for ourselves than a flock of sheep without a shepherd.
Now, take a deeper look at Psalm 23. In what ways does this familiar passage speak to you personally regarding your Shepherd and His care for you? When I look at it I see that He leads, restores, guides, comforts, prepares, and anoints. Wow! Who wouldn't want a God that promises these things? After we have taken some time thinking about how He is doing these things each of our lives, let's close in thanksgiving for His intimate roles as our caring Shepherd.
Dearest Good Shepherd,
How do we begin to understand Your unconditional love and care You have for us? Please open our hearts and eyes to see who You are and what You are already doing in our lives. Don't let us go another day without the awareness of all You want to be for us. We acknowledge that Your way is always going to be the best way for us. Lord, we thank You that You are our guide, provider, and caretaker and You do these things with an unconditional love we cannot comprehend. You are all powerful yet gentle and careful. You ARE our Great Shepherd.
"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6). Amen