November 24th, 2019 | Chad Gardner
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 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 does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 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. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Thousands of years after his reign, King David is still considered a great king. He never suffered a military defeat. But he started out as a humble shepherd boy. Psalm 23 was likely written toward the end of his life. After all of his success and victories, he considered himself a dump sheep.
Psalm 23: 1-4
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even 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.
People are referred to as sheep nearly 2,000 times in the Bible. We’re identified as sheep not to put us down, but to remind us that he is there to guide us from going astray. Sheep are dumb, dirty, and defenseless. The shepherd gives the sheep exactly what they need for the moment they need it. When a wayward sheep thinks he can do better on his own, the shepherd makes him lie down in green pastures. He uses the rod and staff as needed. When God is with you, death is but a shadow. He provides, sustains us, and leads us to where we need to be.