The Good Shepherd

     The Bible was written in an agricultural culture. The language used by farmers, ranchers and people who worked the land is used with frequency. The Bible speaks often about sheep and goats.
King David was a Shepherd so he used the term Shepherd and sheep many times. In the Old Testament God is described as a Shepherd of Israel and the Israelites were considered the Shepherd’s sheep. The New Testament likens Jesus Christ as the good Shepherd who knows his sheep by name.
     This metaphor of the Shepherd and sheep is used in parables to describe God’s character and relationship to his people. This relationship between Shepherd and sheep is unique. The Shepherd knows his sheep by name. He cares for them deeply. When one goes astray he leaves the other sheep and seeks to find the lost sheep. He doesn’t give up till he finds the one that is lost. The Shepherd lays his life on the line too, on behalf of his sheep. Psalm Twenty-Three describes the Shepherd protecting (Ps. 23:1-3) and providing (Ps.23:4-6) for his sheep.
     But one quality that intrigues me is that the sheep know the voice of the Shepherd. The ancients used to allow several Shepherds to mingle their sheep with other flocks. But when the Shepherd called for his flock, his sheep recognized his voice, separated themselves from the others, and came and followed him.
     What a beautiful way to describe our heavenly Father’s relationship to us. Have you heard his voice? His voice is a “still small voice.” It takes time and meditation to hear God speak. That’s why we must develop a time apart to seek the Lord and wait on him. Nothing is more comforting and reassuring than the whisper of his voice.
     The person who wrote the words to that old hymn, In the Garden, was very wise and discerning when he said:
“And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
     Keep close to God. Wait patiently on him. He will whisper your name.

Pastor Gene Wells