I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
Read: Isaiah 30:1 – 33:24
Relate: I don’t know much about shepherding. Most of what I’ve been taught about sheep and their care has come in the form of sermon illustrations. Until these past few devotionals, it isn’t something I’ve really done much fact checking or research on my own. As I said before, one thing I do know is that sheep stink. There was a sheep farm near my school that my bus had to pass way back in the day. Anytime there wasn’t enough wind to blow the stink away it was horrible. I mean, seriously, horrible. You would almost think they were permanently torturing skunks on that farm the way the smell would always stick around.
The sheep farm I passed on my way to school was a completely fenced in, enclosed environment. In this respect it is far different from the shepherding required in Jesus’ day. Today there are no predators, at least none of significance that close to a major city. There is no need for constant supervision and protection. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw anyone out there among those sheep. They probably couldn’t endure the smell any more than I could when riding by. This modern setting creates a much different picture than the Sunday School view of a teenage David armed only with a sling and a staff running to confront a lion or a bear who decided to make a meal of a sheep or two. He was young man who consistently placed his own life and safety directly between the dumb, defenseless, directionless, and infinitely malodorous sheep.
React: A sheep like me. If I were to list out some of the stupid things I’ve done in my past… this devotional would get incredibly long quite quickly. How many times have I been completely clueless of how my good shepherd has stood between me and enemies I was completely unaware of? How many times has His vigilance and His voice kept me from wandering off a cliff I had no idea was there? Why on earth would Jesus to die for someone like me? The only answer is because He is good. For that truth, I am eternally grateful.
God, You are so good. I am so grateful. Over and over again I demonstrate how undeserving I am. But over and over again You lavish Your love and Your grace on me again. It is You who keeps my feet from wandering. It is You who protects me from the dangers I never even see. It is You who guides me and leads me to good places. You are my wisdom. God, You are so good.