Many of us want to believe we are strong, independent, intelligent, adventurous, and even invincible. In the Bible however, God compares us to sheep – over and over. Not a flattering comparison, but there are many reasons for this. First, since we are the sheep of His pasture, we are dependent on Him. We also have a Good Shepherd who feeds us and tends to our needs.
If we dwell in the shelter God provides, and if we abide in the shadow of the Almighty as Psalm 91:1 suggests, then we are protected. When we stay close enough to Jesus our Shepherd, we can rest in His shadow and grow in His presence. Our responsibility is to stay close to Him, keep listening to His voice, and to not stray. Though we often follow many people and things in this life, we were made to follow after God, our Leader.
Dave Wager is with us today with a teaching on word pictures. Scripture is full of them and these word pictures really do help us better understand meanings and applications.
Key Passage of Scripture:
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:7-18
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
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,
they comfort me. Psalm 23:1-4
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. Psalm 95:6-7
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. John 21:15-17