God is the Good Shepherd
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. " (Psalm 23:1-3)
450 Sheep Jump to their deaths in Istanbul, Turkey -- "'First, one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff,' Turkish news media reported. In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and their falls more cushioned."
Wow. What a story! It is amazing to think that these sheep would be so dumb that they would jump off a cliff to their deaths. Before you say too many mean things about the sheep, though, remember what Isaiah 53:6 says: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
What a humiliating thought it is to remember that we are spiritually what those sheep were physically
. It sure makes perfect sense that we would need a good, guiding shepherd. Remember this: We are the sheep, and God is the good Shepherd.
Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." The shepherds of the cliff-jumping sheep in the news story had left their flocks in order to take a breakfast break. In other words, they were busy feeding themselves instead of watching over the sheep that were in their care. Is God that kind of shepherd? No, He laid down His life for His sheep. The Lord Who is our Shepherd never leaves or forsakes His sheep.
We may stumble and fall as we travel from pasture to pasture, but our Shepherd is always there to help us up clean us up and lead us along. Maybe you have sung the hymn that goes like this: "In shady, green pastures so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along." A shepherd protects and provides for his sheep. A good shepherd leads sheep to where the grass is green and where the clear water is flowing. He makes sure they are well taken care of.
God is our Shepherd and supplies the spiritual "food" that satisfies and nourishes our souls. Are you being satisfied with the spiritual food of the God's Word? Are you being led by the good Shepherd? Stay away from spiritual "cliffs"! Do not destroy yourself by straying and wandering from the care and guidance of the good Shepherd. Rebellion against God's shepherding leads to spiritual death and defeat. Remember: We are the sheep. God is the good Shepherd. Cling near the Shepherd's side. Spend time listening to His voice, and follow His leadership. If you do, you will be protected and safe. You will be provided for and satisfied. And you will enjoy the fellowship that is only possible in the presence of the Lord.
God is the good Shepherd. His sheep know His voice and follow Him.
» Am I tempted sometimes to go do my "own thing" even if it goes against God's leading?
» How should trusting in God's direction and provision help me fight against temptations to sin against Him?
» What can I do to help other "sheep" who are heading off on their own self-destructive way?
Truth In Real Life
“There are two things about the Gospel – believe it and behave it.”
Susanna Annesley Wesley was born in London on January 20, 1669, as a pastor’s daughter and as the youngest of 25 children. Her experiences growing up, then, prepared her both for life as a pastor’s wife and life as a mother. Susanna was homeschooled and was often taught by friends of her well-respected father.
One of these young tutors was Samuel Wesley. When Susanna was 20 years old, she and Samuel got married. When Samuel Wesley became a preacher, Susanna entered the ministry with him, excited about the things of God. Life in the ministry, however, was harder than Susanna expected. Deism – a religious system which denies that Jesus Christ is God alone – was popular, and made it difficult for the Wesleys to teach the Gospel of the Bible.
Despite their hardships, Susanna lived for Christ. She gave birth to 19 children during her lifetime, although only nine of them lived to be adults. Two of her children, John and Charles, would grow up to be famous preachers and writers. Her influence in their lives was important!
Susanna’s place in Christian history is marked by two choices she made: First of all, she determined to have time alone with God every day. When she wanted to pray, she would take her apron and pull it over her face and her children knew that she was not to be disturbed.
Second, Susanna determined that she wanted God to use her, no matter how large or small the task. She often said, “I am content to fill a little space if God be glorified.”
She once wrote this about how important she had come to believe that her time with God ought to be:
I will tell you what rule I observed when I was young and too much addicted to childish diversions – never to spend more time in mere recreation in one day than I spent in private religious devotions.
Do you spend as much time with God as you should? How devoted are you to entertainment and recreation? Do these things help to shape you into a Gospel-living person that God will use to glorify Himself? Are you believing and behaving the Gospel in your everyday life?
Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.