Perhaps the most well known image of God in the Bible is that of the good Shepherd, which is beautifully rendered in the treasured Psalm 23. Shepherds also feature as the primary metaphor for leaders in the New Testament, which we may miss because of the preference in newer translations for the term “pastor” rather than Shepherd. Everyone who lived in the ancient Near East would have had no problem understanding this image of God. They would have either lived in a household that owned flocks or seen the shepherds who led their sheep to graze along the edges of settled areas. Many people living in highly developed societies are far removed from images of a staff-holding, sheep guiding shepherd surrounded by a flock of peacefully resting sheep and goats. But thankfully in many developing parts of the world the shepherd image of God is easily one they can relate to.
Prophet Isaiah looking forward in time to the coming of the Messiah Jesus as the coming warrior Shepherd, "Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young" - (Isaiah 40:10, 11 ESV). In Jesus Christ, God is the the loving Shepherd of his flock. Without his adequate attention to his people, they become prey for prowling predators. As the good Shepherd, God provides for us, protects us, and guides us daily. He ensures we don't fall off the cliff. He is forever clearing the path to ensure we are safe. When we are gripped with fear, our courage runs low, and, our wisdom runs dry, we can turn to the God who “will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4). The ever watching Shepherd of our lives.
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