Posted by: dhkrause | September 9, 2017

The True Shepherd

God loves and guides His people just as a true shepherd loves and guides his sheep.  As with sheep, the members of His flock learn to know His voice and follow Him.  God also raises up leaders to shepherd His people with love and humility, completely  dedicated to their well being.  Members of local congregations follow both the lead of righteous shepherds, and of the “Chief Shepherd” who is Jesus Christ.

The first mention of God as “the Shepherd” is in Jacob’s last words to his sons. Speaking of Joseph he declares, “But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel” (Genesis 49:24 NIV).

Genesis 49

Four centuries later, God raised up Moses to be a shepherd over Israel, leading them out of Egypt and preparing them to enter the Promised Land.  After forty years, God led Moses to anoint Joshua as the next shepherd over Israel:

Numbers 27 (NKJV)
15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 16 “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17 who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

18 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.

Psalm 23_1

David describes his close walk with the Lord as his Shepherd, exemplifying the relationship that God desires to have with each of His people.

Psalm 23 (NKJV)
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
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 runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

The Lord also made David a shepherd over Israel.  The Lord told Nathan the prophet, “Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel.” (2 Samuel 7:8) 

Psalm 78_70

Asaph describes how God took David “from the sheepfoldsto shepherd  Jacob His people”.

Psalm 78 (NKJV)
70 He also chose David His servant,
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 From following the ewes that had young He brought him,
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

Even as David was shepherding the nation of Israel, he prayed that the Lord Himself would shepherd them and “bear them up forever”.  He declared, “The Lord is my strength and my shield” and also, “The Lord is their strength”.  His desire was for each person to know the Lord personally as their Shepherd.

Psalm 28 (NKJV)
Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
The Lord is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

1 Peter 5_4

1 Peter 5 describes true shepherds of God’s people: overseers who are willing and eager to serve, “being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

1 Peter 5 (NKJV)
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

I am the Good Shepherd

In John 10, Jesus describes His own mission as the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep, and He also predicts his resurrection.  He also says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (v. 27-28)

John 10 (NKJV)
14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 9/9/2017, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
http://pilgrimwatch.com/2015/01/
https://brokenbelievers.com/2016/09/05/psalm-23-understood/
https://allenbible.org/podcast/2015/10/5/david-a-life-worth-studying-a-god-worth-knowing-ps-7870-72
https://www.versaday.com/Months/10/1030.aspx
https://www.slideshare.net/SammieGSmith/11-november-17-2013-john-101-42-jesus-the-true-shepherd


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