The Good Shepherd
THE LIFE OF A SHEPHERD
Shepherds are not common in today’s world, but they do exist. Being a sheep-herder is one of the oldest jobs going back 5,000 years.
Families usually sent out the youngest sons to take care of the sheep. Elder sons would inherit land and homes passed down through the generations. But the younger sons had no inheritance so they were trained to be Shepherds.
The main duties of being a Shepard were leading the flock to food and water daily. Keeping the flock together. Protecting the sheep from predators and watching over the general well being of the flock. If the flock was large it was moved continually to new pastures. So the Shepard lived a nomad life style. When the flock was smaller it could feed in smaller pastures not so distant to travel. Fields of grains and grasses would be planted for the sheep to feed on.
A Shepard needed to have many skills to be a good caretaker of the sheep. These skills were learned from the actual experience of watching over the sheep day and night.
GAZING AT THE NIGHT SKY
When the time of the birth of Jesus arrived the local Shepherds were the ones to see his star shine so brightly, because they were out in the open fields at night watching over the sheep. Remember In those days there was no electricity so it was really dark at night. Shepherds were watching their sheep one night when an unexpected bright light appeared in the darkened sky. Upon seeing the brightness of this star the Shepherds followed this bright light as it stood still over the exact place where the King of Israel was to be born.
Not only did the Shepherds see the bright Star that signified King Jesus’s birth, but Maggi from the east also had seen this unusual star.
Mat. 2:2 Maggi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,” Where is the one who has been born the King of the Jews? We saw his star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
They not only came to worship this newborn King but they came with gifts of gold and spices. When you go before a King, you never come empty-handed. To honor a king a gift is always given. Jesus was honored at birth with gifts by those who were privileged to see His star. God revealed to the astronomers an extraordinary event was taking place, the birth of a great king. The shepherds who came were drawn by the magnificent star that shone so brightly.
The birth of Jesus was so significant the creator of heaven and earth gave him his own star to be a birth announcement. But this is not unusual if your father is God the creator of the universe.
The star had the attention of men of who studied the night skies so they set out on a long journey following its lead.
Mat .2:6 But you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a ruler who will be the Shepherd of my people Israel.
Num.24:17b A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.
The wise men who came to see this new born King even quoted the scriptures predicting his birth. So finding and following His star was very exciting for them. We know the star that was so bright led the shepherds and those who studied the stars to the place where the baby was born.
WHO IS THIS BABY WHO HAD HIS OWN STAR?
In Luke 1:26-33 the story is told how the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth to visit a virgin named Mary who had an impending marriage to a man named Joseph. Gabriel, Gods Messenger Angel, approached Mary and said “Greetings, you who are highly favored!
The Lord is with you. Mary went through many emotions upon hearing this greeting from the angel. The angel seeing her troubled response spoke and told her not to be troubled or afraid because she had great favor with God. She had been chosen to have a son that would be given the throne of David. He will be called the son of the most high God. You will give him the name of Jesus. Mary did not understand how she could bear a child because she was untouched by a man. The angel explained to her that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and the power of God would cause her to conceive supernaturally. Mary said YES to God’s plans for her life to conceive the baby. This baby that was conceived in Mary’s womb by the power of God. Who was this baby? The Son of God. Emmanuel, God is with us. The time had come for his life to be. He would be named Jesus, as Gabriel instructed.
A SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL
This child Jesus, who was conceived supernaturally would grow up to be the Great Shepherd.
God first takes on the identity of a Shepherd in GEN. 48:15 when Jacob (Israel) refers to God as being his Shepard. Then in Gen. 49:24b because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. This passage is referring to when Jacob is Blessing his son, Joseph with his inheritance. Jacob refers to his God the Shepherd of Israel. Jacob who became Israel knew God as a Shepherd, who always took care of him.
GEN. 48:15 Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers walked, the God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day. Jacob is telling his son Joseph, God has taken care of me and met my needs. He has protected me from every enemy. He will do the same for you. What a wonderful inheritance to give to your son. God is a Good Shepard and he will be the same for you when I am gone.
Joseph at the age of 17 was a Shepherd for his father’s sheep. (Gen.37:2) Interesting that Joseph was trained to be a Shepherd at a young age. Later in life, this same Joseph was the second in command of Egypt. The training instilled in Joseph as a Shepherd is simple but key to being a great leader.
DAVID’S TRAINING AS A SHEPHERD
As a Great War commander of God and future King it makes sense that David was taught to be a Shepherd by watching over his father’s flocks of sheep and caring for them. David also learned to have intimacy with God in his shepherding days. He would spend part of his day or evening singing and worshiping God. When the Prophet came to anoint who the Lord had chosen to be King over Israel David had to be fetched from watching the sheep. This young man David had gotten God’s attention. As a good Shepard and a strong worshiper.
The Lord trusted David to lead armies who won many battles. He also trusted him to be King over Israel, and would be given an everlasting dynasty. Which Jesus would be born into.
Gen.49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the rulers staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
DAVID DECLARES GOD AS HIS SHEPARD
A Psalm of David:
Ps.23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
Ps.23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters,
Ps.23:3 He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.
Ps.23:4 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 (scepter) they comfort me.
Ps.23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Ps.23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
David knew what a good Shepherd’s duties were. He saw a good Shepard in his God. David trusted the Lord to be his Shepard.
GOD IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS A SHEPHERD
Ez.34:15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Ez.34:16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will Shepherd my flock with justice.
THE ROOTS OF THE SHEPHERD
When God looked at the sons of ISRAEL He chose the tribe of Judah to be the lineage for His son, Jesus. King David was of the tribe of Judah
Ps.78:68 But he chose the tribe of Judah, mount Zion which he loved.
Ps.78:70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens;
Ps.78:71 From tending the sheep he brought him to be the Shepherd of His people Jacob.
Ps.78:72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
David took the survival skills he knew from taking care of the sheep and used those principals to care for and lead God’s people.
Notice the scriptures say with that David shepherded the people well with integrity of heart and skillful hands. God trained David well in the hill country watching over the sheep.
Ez.34:23 I will place over them One Shepard, my servant David, and he will tend them; and be their Shepherd.
Ez.34:24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
Ez.34:25 I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests
Ez.34:26 I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers of blessings in season; there will be showers of blessing.
GOD CALLS US HIS SHEEP
Ez.34:31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture are my people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.
JOHN 10:14 I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.
GOD’S SHEEP KNOW HIS VOICE
John 10:2 The man who enters by the gate is the Shepherd of his sheep.
John 10:3 The watchman opens the gate for him, the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
John 10:5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
VOICE OF GOD
John 18:37 Everyone that is of the truth knows my voice.
John 8:47 He who belongs to God hears what God says.
1 John 4:6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not of God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood.
HOW TO KNOW THAT GOD IS SPEAKING TO YOU
When God speaks you have an Inward Knowing. He may speak in words you do not normally use. 1 worth. 2:13
When God speaks to you Peace will come into your soul and feel at Rest. JOHN 14:27
As you trust what the Lord spoke to you Confidence and Assurance follow. Is.30:15
God”s word will always Confirm the message he spoke to you, if it was truly God’s voice.
Jesus Speaks Clearly and in line with His Words that you know that it is He. He gives Clarity. 2 Cor. 1:20
When the Spirit of God speaks to you, it is life giving and you have hope and confidence and feel better.
WHEN THE ENEMY SPEAKS
You will feel doubt, fear, discomfort. 2 Tim. 1:7 Rom. 8:15-16
Conflict, restlessness, and no peace. Jas.3;14-18 Is. 48:22
Lack of clarity, confusion. Jas. 3:16 1 Corth. 14:33
Condemnation, guilt and discouragement.
The enemy brings up past sins that have already been confessed and forgiven and forgotten by God. Rom.8:1, 1 John 3:20,Rev.12:10
Over all the voice of the enemy brings yuck and makes you feel bad.
WHEN THE FLESH SPEAKS
When your old nature speaks to you it will use deception. Jer.17:9-10
Double mindedness will be presented. You may want two opposite things at the same time. 1 James 1:8
Sinful desires of the old nature. James 1:13-16
Being able to recognize who is speaking to you is half of the battle. Either God is speaking to you, the enemy of your soul or your flesh. When desires of the old man arise from the flesh we must consider ourselves dead to those desires. Rom.6:1-4
The indwelling Spirit of God within us will help us stay single focused on the Lord and to choose His Kingdom and Will.
We must feed on the Word of God until we become mature. Her.5:12
The Holy Spirit helps us to do this. John 14:16, 16:13
Resist unholy desires and they will leave you in Jesus Name!
Remember the Lord paid a great price suffering a painful death that we might be set free from bondage.
The new nature you have in Christ will become stronger as you say no to the flesh.
JOHN 10:15 Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Jesus laid his life down for us to be free of our old nature of the flesh.
ONE SHEPHERD ONE FLOCK
JOHN 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and here shall be one flock and one Shepherd.
I believe this means the one new man. Jews and gentiles joined in the messiah Jesus Christ.
The good Shepherd that loves and cares for His flock.
ROOTS are the main part of any plant. Roots are unseen, and usually not given a thought when we look at a beautiful tree or pretty flower. But without a healthy ROOT system in place the visual beauty of a plant or tree would not be.
The Hand of God is spoken of a lot in the Bible. Reference is frequently to the Right Hand of the Lord. Thinking about the HAND of GOD is worth time.
I think the Lord Jesus is very Kind and loving and it would be worth our while to think about being more Kind to those we know and strangers.