David, a shepherd himself before he became king, knew that even he needed a shepherd. Why? He knew his own strengths and weaknesses and that he, like a sheep, was prone to wander from safety. “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” Isaiah 53:6a David knew that in order not to wander, his shepherd, God Himself, would have to guard over him even as he had his own sheep.
You and I also are sheep, and like all sheep, we tend to go astray. We desperately need a shepherd, but unlike earthly shepherds who either care for their flocks or care less, we have a perfect shepherd, Jesus Himself, whose love was so encompassing, He gave His life for us: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 All you and I need do is recognize our Shepherd’s voice and follow Him in trust, always remembering our Shepherd loves US with all His heart, and He demonstrates this in, oh, so many ways!
He cares for us: “And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” Luke 12:28 Have faith in God’s promise—that He will care for us at all times and in every circumstance; He provides for our every want and need. This does not mean material or physical want, but all we need to find joy and inward peace as we focus on Him, even during the toughest of times. John 10:10b
He feeds us: “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33 Wheat bread may sustain us physically, but the bread that God gives when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior is life everlasting.
He quenches our thirst: “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 As those caught in the desert long for water to quench their thirst, so each of us has a longing within to be filled with God. When we drink of Jesus, He fills us with streams of living water, bringing hope for today and eternal life for tomorrow.
He removes worry and anxiety: “ Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus urges us to cast away all that weighs us down, and when we do so, He gladly lifts our burdens.
He fearlessly protects us from Satan and evil forces: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees.” John 10:11 Our Shepherd fights for us and will never leave our sides. Giving us armor for protection, He protects His own! (Eph. 6:10-18)
He pursues the lost: “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
Matthew 18:12-14 God’s desire is that no man perish. When we wander, He pursues us. When He tugs on our spirits, we need to listen, repent, and run into His open arms!
Jesus is our High Priest who intercedes for us: “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, Who was raised—Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34 and “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Hebrews 4:14-15 Jesus loves us so much and understands us so well that today, even as we go about our activities, whether in righteousness or sin, He intercedes on our behalf, asking God for compassion, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Have you ever recognized Jesus shepherding you in the above ways? Take a moment and thank Him, then let Him know you look forward to His provision in the future. If, however, you’ve never felt the Lord’s guidance, listen! That’s your Shepherd’s voice calling you! He wants you as His own, so answer Him! Ask Jesus right now, this very moment, to be your Lord and Savior, then trust Him to shepherd you the rest of your days.
Prayer: “Dear Father, thank YOU for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be my Shepherd. His words and example show me the true meaning of love as He guides me on the path to eternal life. Please help me daily drink Him in and feed on His food—not man’s bread, but Your Word as written in Scripture. Then help me be a shepherd to those in my life— loving, protecting, guiding, and teaching them to feast on all You are—Lord God—Savior! May I always bring honor and glory to Your name.”
Next Week: Psalm 23:1b "I shall not be in want."
Disclaimer: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
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Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.