Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

the Good Shepherd Archive



July 2021

Safe place for sheep

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“I am the good shepherd:” Christ said in John 10:11, “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Shepherding is a calling that requires great patience, tenderness, and wisdom.

"The LORD is my shepherd...He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Psalm 23:1,2 Read more at hopereflected.com

Beyond the basic needs of providing food and protection, the shepherd is responsible to navigate where the sheep are spending time, that the sheep don’t stray, interactions of the sheep (with one another, with sheepdogs, and even with themselves), and helping the sheep to overcome stress.

“God knows when we need rest, and sometimes He allows for us to be in a position where we have no other choice but to ‘lie down’.”

Hope reflected

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” David wrote in Psalm 23, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Just as the shepherd leads the sheep, our Lord leads us and directs us where to spend time. Without His direction, we would stray (1 Peter 2:25). Note how David writes, “He maketh me to lie down…” (Ps. 23:1). God knows when we need rest, and sometimes He allows for us to be in a position where we have no other choice but to “lie down”. Our Lord provides for what we have need of, and we understand from Isaiah 40:11 that He “will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom”. Historically, if a young lamb were wandering or going astray, the shepherd would use the rod to break one of the lamb’s legs, and then carry the lamb on his shoulders until the leg healed. “He hath smitten, and He will bind us up,” (Hosea 6:1). To be gathered and carried by the arms of our Saviour is just one of the ways that Christ protects us and leads us in the right direction.

"He will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom." (Isaiah 40:11) See more at hopereflected.com

Sheep move in flocks, and part of the shepherd’s job is to watch how the sheep interact with one another, with the sheep dog, and with their surroundings. As our shepherd, Christ does the same for us, and He also instructs us to look out for our own behavior and for one another. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,” Paul wrote in Acts 20:28. As part of God’s flock, we are not completely independent, we are not called solely to self-involvement, but rather to take a genuine interest in others – a genuine interest, not one that is insincere, nosy, or filled with ulterior motives.

"He hath smitten, and He will bind us up," (Hosea 6:1). Read more at hopereflected.com

Moving in a flock can often cause stress to the sheep, especially if they’re not handled correctly. With Christ as our shepherd, though we’ll go through trials and experience trouble, we can know we’re headed in the right direction when we purposefully follow Christ and His direction. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” (John 10:4). Christ calls us by name, and He leads us. Sheep experience less stress when they stay close to the shepherd.

“The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his shepherd, because the devil does not fear sheep; he just fears the shepherd, that is all.”

A.W. Tozer

Originally published as “Safe place for sheep.” Independent Plus. February 11, 2021: 5. Print. Web.



July 2017

Hope Reflected | As our shepherd

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd | Hope Reflected

As our shepherd

If you’ve ever read Thomas Hardy’s famed novel, Far from the Madding Crowd, then you understand a little bit about the work of a shepherd. A shepherd has the position of caring for and tending to a flock of sheep – feeding them, leading them, and protecting them. As we read in Far from the Madding Crowd, being a shepherd is anything but glamourous, it can prove to be a dangerous career choice, and it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.

You may have heard the analogy of Jesus as the good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for His sheep. Perhaps you’ve heard the analogy so many times that you’ve never stopped to think about what that truly means. What I find so fascinating about Jesus being portrayed throughout Scripture as the Shepherd is that the Saviour of the world is compared to a shepherd – quite possibly one of the lowliest, least recognized, introverted vocations out there.

Isn’t that just the opposite of us? Here on earth, we are in constant pursuit of being recognized, appreciated, and wanted. While each of us may yearn for it in our own way, we all long for recognition. Perhaps you’re pursuing a career as a full-time mother, or maybe you’re a man working long days to provide for his family, or you might even be a recent graduate who’s out working your first “real job” in your field of study – it doesn’t matter your lot in life, the longing is the same – we all want someone to pat us on the back and recognize us.

Consider Jesus. While we’re busy pursuing earthly glory, He is pursuing us and seeking after our well-being. Just like a shepherd that pursues his flock, Christ always keeps us in His sight, and even when we screw up, He continues to watch over us and longs to lead us in the right direction. While we’re looking everywhere except to Him for gratification, He is looking after – and looking out for – you and I.

As our Shepherd, Christ knows us and loves us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Long before your parents found out whether you’d be a boy or girl, Christ knew all about you, and who you would grow up to be. He knows everything about you, and He cares what happens to you.

As our Shepherd, Christ knows our wants and desires, and He will provide. “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33) Lest you think God doesn’t care about the details in your life, you should know that He values you more than anything. After all, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7)

As our Shepherd, Christ will protect us. “So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6) Beyond providing protection here on earth, only Christ can provide you with eternal protection. You may have heard the George MacDonald quote “Never tell a child you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.” While your body will die, your soul will live for eternity – where you choose to spend eternity is up to you, but keep in mind, eternity is forever.

Beyond love, provision, and protection, there is also an unbreakable trust between the shepherd and his flock. When you trust Jesus to be your shepherd and to lead and guide you, “the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Originally published as “As our shepherd.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 22, 2017: 7. Print. Web.