“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28
Have you ever seen how sheep respond to their shepherds’ voice?
There was this story I once heard, where there was this intense training of future leaders church ministry. They were on an island and were each given a lamb to tend to through the duration of the retreat. They were to name the lamb, feed the lamb, take care of it, sleep with it, etc. And, at the end of the camp, all the sheep were put together - you could barely distinguish them apart. What the leaders were then told to do was call out their own sheep by name and if their lamb came to them, they passed the training "test" of leadership.
A shepherd’s primary responsibility is the safety and welfare of the flock.
Sheep are followers. They aren’t headstrong, like goats, but they tend to go with the flow and follow whoever is leading them. They wander unless kept in line.
Their shepherd cares for them, he takes them to green pastures for the best grass to graze on, he brings them back to the fold and he lays across the entrance to make sure nothing enters or exits the sheep fold to prevent any harm to fall on the sheep.
The Shepherd sacrifices and cares for his sheep.
What if a shepherd didn’t do their job in taking care of his sheep? What if, instead of taking them to green pastures, he led them to a dried out field? What if, instead of bringing them back to the fold, he lets them wander by themselves into the evening leaving them unguarded to the awaiting predators of the night?
We are sheep. But who is our master?
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know Me.” John 10:14
The Lord God is our good Shepherd. Psalm 23 describes the Lord as OUR shepherd. He wants to have a relationship with us. To comfort and care for us. He wants to restore us and lead us in the greener pastures and still waters. He calls us into His fold and protects us from harmful prey.
However, sometimes, we as sheep don’t realize how great we’ve got it with the Lord as our shepherd. We think there are even GREENER-er pastures over the hill. We think there is tastier still waters and we think that the prey that hunts us isn’t as harmful as we think.
Do you find yourself straying from the fold?
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to [our] own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
Not only did the Lord call Himself as our shepherd but He also calls Himself as the Lamb. Jesus came down as a sacrifice for our deserved place in death that we may have life in Him. He identifies with us what it is to be a sheep. What a beautiful representation Jesus gives us.
While we may feel distant from the Lord, while we may think that we have strayed too far, God shows us that He is RIGHT THERE with us and for us.
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
You may think that you aren’t worth God’s time after you have strayed from Him. That He may be angry at you or resentful because you are a stubborn sheep wanting to go it's own way.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the nintey-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:4-7
When you accept Jesus into your heart and confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead, you become adopted into the “fold” of God. You belong to HIM. Not as a possession, but as a child, a sheep that He loves and cares for and is willing to seek out that one lost sheep and rejoice when He brings them home.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
Come on lost and distant sheep, let’s call out to our Good Shepherd and know that He loves us with a fierce love and is willing to bring us back into His fold.