A Shepherd and His Sheep

MP900262874[1] I will set up over them on shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them; he shall feed them and be their shepherd. Ezekiel 34:23 NRSV

Ezekiel, like so many of the ancient prophets, decried the sins of God’s people and chastised the leaders of Israel for their corrupt leadership. He called them false shepherds. Ezekiel knew that Israel’s leaders cared more about themselves than the people. So their actions were not designed to restore the kingdom to a God-honoring rule, but to promote their own best interests and to indulge their own personal desires. The result was that all God’s sheep were scattered and wandering, like prey for wild animals. The situation was grim.MP900406516[1]

Being sheep without a shepherd was nothing new for God’s people. Moses was worried about that very thing as his life drew to a close. He knew that the people would wander and fall away without a strong leader (Numbers 27:16-17). Later, Micah spoke of seeing all Israel scattered on the hills, like sheep without a shepherd. (1Kings 22:17)

By the time Ezekiel came along, things had gotten much worse. But there was still room for hope. Ezekiel wrote that God is the true shepherd. He believed God would gather his people together and give them a shepherd out of the line of David, who would both lead them and feed them.

Ezekiel’s promise: A shepherd will come!

After that, many false shepherds continued to appear. They were more interested in robbing and destroying than in leading people in paths of righteousness.

00155358 But then came Jesus. He came as the Good Shepherd. In fact, he even called himself by that name. That claim set Jesus apart from any other shepherd Israel had ever had. This Good Shepherd would rule over all Israel, would feed them and be a prince among them.

Who is your shepherd, and how well do you know him?

Once the Good Shepherd has arrived, the sheep must know his voice and recognize his call? That comes by experience. Those who recognize Jesus’ voice are those who have spent time him. They have listened to his call. They have learned to recognize his words. Jesus’ teachings have become a familiar refrain to them. The gentle tones of his truth have echoed across the pastures of their lives for a long time.  His melodious voice strikes a familiar chord in their ears.

Those who know Jesus recognize his voice!

For the sheep who know the Good Shepherd, it only takes a word and they respond. That’s because they know their master. They trust their master. They are ready to follow their master.

Isn’t that what the Christian walk is all about, spending time with Jesus Christ? Today, as his sheep, we must follow him too. That means we must listen to him. We must stay near him. We must be ready to go where hej0156405 tells us to go. We must trust him with our lives. The more time we spend with him, the better we will get to know him. The better we come to know him, the more quickly and readily we respond to his call!

So take time this week to get to know the Good Shepherd even better. Fill your mind with his words, and stay close to him in everything you do. Then he will be able to lead you to green pastures and feed you the bread of life!

Shepherd

Prayer:

Good Shepherd, thank you for coming and for calling me into your sheepfold. I know you are the one and only true Shepherd. I want to know you better so I can answer when you call and go where you lead. Help me to be a faithful member of your flock!

Amen.

Smart sheep get to know the Good Shepherd!

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