Good Morning Gorgeous,
It’s a brand new day. A fresh new start. And all things are being restored. ALL THINGS.
The Lord has such a comeback story prepared for His people!
David, the shepherd boy turned King, is the one who wrote the famous Psalm 23. Because of David’s early life tending his father’s flock, he would have known FULL well the role a good shepherd had over his flock.
David would understand the way a shepherd guides and leads and provides and protects. And David declares: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalms 23:1-6 NLT
Here in Ezekiel, the Lord compares His people to sheep that have been scattered and need a shepherd. Remember that the people were taken away from their promised land into Babylonian captivity. Later, they were allowed to return, but they stayed under the rule of Rome.
The Lord had promised to come and find His sheep. He would gather them back and redeem them Himself.
The Old Testament shows the Lord’s people reject Him over and over and over again. Yet, He mercifully delivers them, heals them, restores them, provides for them, comforts them, and again and again forgives them.
And they just keep returning to the ways of the world.
And STILL, He has a plan for good for them. A plan to prosper them and give them a hope and a future.
And STILL, He sends His Son.
And STILL, He chooses to light the darkness up with His Light.
And STILL, He chooses to leave the 99 for the 1 lost sheep.
This continual merciful restoration is compared by Jesus to that of a good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd is another example of a name the Lord gives to Himself. Again when the Lord says, I AM….I think it’s pretty important to pay attention.
Jesus knew the scriptures well. He would have known Psalm 23 and when He declares that He is the Good Shepherd, He is saying I am the Lord that David was referring to and I will take care of you just as the psalmist described.
As Jesus teaches, He tells a beautiful parable about the role of a Shepherd to the flock,
He declares that He is that Shepherd.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them:
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
John 10:1-18 NLT
There is SO much here in this passage of scripture!
Jesus makes it clear that He is choosing to offer Himself to the world. He boldly states that He is giving His life willingly for His sheep.
This is important for us to see so that we can rightly understand the sacrifice at the cross. I often struggled with how God could sacrifice His only begotten Son as an act of love for all mankind. But to read Jesus’s red letter Words say, “I give my life willingly. No one is taking it. I am giving it for my sheep. To read Jesus’s love for us is so amazing. And Jesus is the visible image of the Lord Himself. Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” The Lord Himself chose to manifest on earth in visible, touchable, relational form as a man in flesh so that we could be saved. That’s how much God loves us.
He also starts to speak here about “the other sheep”. He says that there are other sheep that He is bringing in to the sheepfold and there will be one flock.
He is speaking of stretching the promise beyond the Jewish people. He is talking about bringing in the Gentiles which is anyone who is not Jewish. Previously, Jesus had mostly preached to and healed those that were His people. Remember God’s people were those set apart from the tribes of Abraham and He put the Israelites together and made them a nation. These are the Jews. The descendants of the 12 tribes. And Jesus LOVES them with a faithful passion. He has gone to great lengths to protect them and guide them and keep them as His own special people.
And yet, He ALSO had a plan for all of His creation. He would come to save all mankind, not just the Jewish Nation. He said that everyone who believes in Me will not perish, but have ever lasting life.
And here in these passages about Him being the Good Shepherd, He is telling His disciples that He is going to be bringing more sheep into the group of His Followers.
This would have been hard for them to grasp because the Jewish people didn’t eat with non Jews, and a sheepfold would become ONE group that would be shepherded all together including meals and close contact. Both things the Jewish people didn’t do with Gentiles.
And later after Jesus’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, the Holy Spirit is given and then Peter has a vision to preach to the Gentiles and bring them into the same promises of God! And, when they get anointed with the seal of the Holy Spirit, its physical proof that God’s promises have been EXTENDED to ALL who call on Him in faith and trust in Jesus.
Wow! It’s alot to take in at times, but so many puzzle pieces of the Bible are connecting as we study the Names of Jesus. We learn so much of His character and the ways He cares for us in multiple facets. He is a goooooood, gooooooood God!
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the Good Shepherd who loves us so much that You continually Shepherd us back into the fold. You protect us and keep us close to You. Your Holy Spirit writes Your commands on our hearts so that we continually hear Your small, still voice guiding us into the paths of life. You are SO merciful as You keep drawing us into deeper and deeper relationship with You.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.