God created us and we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep in his pasture. (Paraphrase mine)
I looked up the definition of a shepherd and according to Wikipedia, a shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards a flock of sheep. Not necessarily his own. So of course that led me to look deeper. The shepherd was usually an unmarried and childless man who hired on to guard flocks for farmers who could not leave the farm, or it was often times a younger son in the family who did not stand to inherit property. Which leads me to what kind of shepherd is God and why does he use this often in the bible.
Shepherd I think because we most closely resemble sheep. Not as dumb as people would like to believe, but are easily led. They recognize the voice of their shepherd, and will follow it to the point of death. I read an article recently where a shepherd instead of protecting his sheep, led them over a cliff to their deaths. The story in and of itself isn't comical, but can you imagine sheep one after another going over a cliff just because their leader did? Not a smart move! But we see it every day. The shepherd above did not own the sheep. In other words they did not belong to him. So he was in no way invested in those sheep. The fact that they would follow him to his death didn't concern him. Why? Because they were not his. Therein lies the difference in the shepherd who has a stake in the life of the sheep. We belong to God, we are his sheep and he cares. Sheep need to know who they belong to. They need a voice to follow and the only way sheep will heed and follow a voice is for them to get to know it. We are much the same. We can't follow the shepherds voice until we get to know it. We have the promise of belonging and protection, we need only to listen and follow.
Created over 1 year ago