|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “You are loved”
Our Bible verse for today: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:11; 14 (NIV)
Our thought for today: Your Shepherd loves you.”
Phillip Keller was a Christian author and speaker who grew up in a region of Africa where there were many native sheep herders. Then, as a young man, Keller owned his own ranch and spent many years raising sheep. It was in a region of this country where there were lots of sheep ranches and therefore it was easy to compare the health and vitality of one flock to another.
Many years later, as an older man, Keller wrote a book about the Biblical comparison between actual sheep and their shepherd, and the people of God as sheep under the care of Jesus the Good Shepherd. The title of the book was “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”. Keller tells us that when actual sheep have a good shepherd it’s easy to see it by the fact that the sheep are well-fed, healthy, content, and they eagerly stay close to their shepherd. Whereas the sheep of a bad or negligent shepherd are dirty, haggard, ill-fed, and not affectionate towards their shepherd. A good shepherd doesn’t just own the sheep but loves them. A bad or neglectful shepherd sees the sheep only as a source of profit.
The Bible often uses the metaphor of shepherds and sheep to describe Jesus’ relationship with us – and Jesus described Himself as “The Good Shepherd”. In other words, He doesn’t just own us, He loves us and cares for us in every way that an actual good shepherd loves and takes care of his actual sheep, only better.
In what ways is Jesus’ good care of us similar to the good care of an actual good shepherd taking care of actual sheep? No place in the Bible is that caring and loving relationship described better or with more powerful imagery than in Psalm 23. This morning I’m simply going to quote the Psalm in its entirety. I encourage you to spend a few extra moments meditating on the beautiful picture it paints. Allow the Lord to comfort and assure you and to express His love for you through these words. Then tomorrow we’ll come back to it and consider it deeply, phrase-by-phrase.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
|Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.|