Over time, one of the ways in which I check and evaluate myself is to go over teachings I have heard, lessons I have penned down from sermons or personal bible studies. I personally think it is one of the reasons why it appears rather unnecessary, or for some of us less urgent such that we never find the right time to do it.
I was opportune to be at a conference recently and the theme of the program was ‘The Good shepherd’. The background and main text throughout was John chapter 10, but subsequently, we considered many other scriptures.
The bible is an intentional book. Every word, phrase, illustration, figure of speech and so on is exactly what God means. There is no error or accident in the way words are framed. Which is why the words “sheep”, “shepherd” should cause us to do a little study. In John 10:11, Jesus said “I am the good shepherd”. A shepherd is a keeper of sheep in simple terms. Why did Jesus use the word ‘sheep’ in relation to believers of all the animals in the word? Why wasn’t some other animal say goat, pig or even a lion used? Why call me ‘sheep’? Could it be that there are certain characteristics of a sheep that my Good Shepherd wants to see in me?
In verse 14 of the same chapter, Jesus says not only does He know His sheep, He is known of His. If for example, I were to walk into a house full of sheep, make some sounds and then head towards the door in a manner saying ‘follow me’, I am certain that not one sheep would follow me. The reason is simple: they do not know me!
Who do you know beloved? Whose voice have you ‘registered’ as your shepherd? Who is leading your life? Nearly everything around us speaks! But you do not have to understand the voice of strangers or distractions. You have the power to command ‘Be quiet!’.
Psalm 23 gives a vivid picture of the life i have as sheep of the Good Shepherd. It is important I believe that I have all that I need in my shepherd. There could be attractions (which in the real sense are nothing but distractions) but I must trust in the ability of my shepherd. He is a total shepherd. He feeds me and leads me (in peace). He offers rest and then strengthens, not forgetting the grace of restoration as well. He guides me along the right path meaning if my eyes are fixed on him, I should never worry about going astray. This includes times when life’s challenges make me feel like I’m all alone. When I think, “is God really in this phase with me?”
I trust in His rod and staff which refers to both the leading and the correction. Though it may not feel pleasurable at the moment, I trust that the purpose of his leading and even his rebuke is ultimately for my comfort. This shepherd of mine also gives me bragging rights. He won’t feed me in private and instruct me to wipe my mouth. No! My abundance and sufficiency is to be witnessed by all and sundry.
Finally, the psalm ends on a note of dedication. The Shepherd will not feed or lead any sheep not in His fold or in His presence. The Psalmist, realising this said, “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”. Beloved, do you pledge it today just like David did?
Yours in faith,