The heart of the shepherd is to care for his sheep. You cannot be a good shepherd without first having the love of God in your heart. The love of God will cause you to care deeply about every aspect of the sheep’s well being. King David beautifully described the heart of the Shepherd in the twenty third psalm.
David was able to see the heart of the Lord through the eyes of his experience as a shepherd. This was the reason he was able to say, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want,” In this phrase I could see David’s thought pattern going back to his days as a shepherd in the fields. He may have come upon some hard times in his life and needed to be reassured that everything was going to be alright. David drew comfort and confidence in the belief that same way I cared for those sheep in the wilderness, I believe the Lord is caring for me.
He knows what you need
There will be no lack in my life because the Good Shepherd will lead me in fields of abundance beside still waters. The sheep needs little more than green pastures and water to survive, so all of their basic needs were met as they grazed and rested in green pastures. Our Shepherd already knows what we need and has already anticipated fulfilling everyone of them before we even say a word. Day by day he continues to lead us to green pastures.
For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matt 6:8)
However, Jesus, our Good Shepherd is not only concerned about our physical needs, the deepest desire of his heart was to restore our souls. Sin has separated us from our heavenly father, we were lost in sin with no way to restore our souls, we needed help, we needed to make a spiritual 911 call, we were in a state of spiritual and eternal emergency.
We were lost sheep in the wilderness of sin but Jesus came as the Good shepherd, He came seeking for his lost sheep, He came to make a way for us to return to a life of abundance, holiness, righteousness, peace and joy. He came to lead us back to green pastures. He came to restore us to our rightful place in God. He was and still is the answer to our spiritual 911 call.
The Good Shepherd knew the penalty of our sin is death and He knew that if we died in our sins we would be forever lost. He knew also that only a sinless spotless blood could pay the ultimate price for our sins. He also knew that no one on earth was righteous enough to pay that required price, but like a good shepherd He chose to pay the price to redeem us from the curse of sin; He chose to lay down his life so that our souls maybe restored.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10: 14-15)
Think of it this way, you own some sheep or any animal for that matter, your pet maybe, and it strayed and got entangled in the bushes or lost. Because of your love for pet (sheep) you will do anything to find that pet and bring it back home. This was the heart of Jesus for us, His love for us was so great, that he was willing to lay down his life for us.
He came to lead us in paths of righteousness. We are made righteous by him laying down his life us, he has made a way where there was no way, just so that we can be restored in righteousness. His heart for his sheep now, is to hear is voice and follow him.
I often think of what it must have been like for David when the lion and the bear attacked his sheep, I wonder if David saw the lion and his heart began to pound out of his chest, I wonder if he thought about running away but decided not not to since he knew his sheep would be defenseless without him. Shepherds, What is your reaction when your sheep is in trouble? Do you criticize your sheep or do you run to their rescue? I know those nails are painful but as a shepherd you are called to take them for the sheep. Are you willing to despise the pain and endure the rejection, the criticism and be like our great shepherd?
We don’t need to wonder how Jesus felt about laying down his life. He despised the shame of the cruel death upon the cross. He asked His Father, “If it is possible let this cup be taken away from me.” He was saying Father if there is any other way….. please don’t let me go through this, yet in his heart he was not willing for any to perish but that all may have eternal life. (John 3:15) Jesus knew what would happened to his sheep if He did not lay down his life…
The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
He knew that the sheep would be scattered and viciously killed, there would be no mercy, no grace, no repentance, no way to get back to the loving arms of the Father. I believe like Jesus, David knew what was going to happen to the sheep, he knew that the sheep would be scattered and they were defenseless against this roaring lion so with sweat running down his face and heart pounding out of his chest David rouse up to fight for his sheep. David was not a hired hand; these were his Fathers sheep, which meant they were his sheep and he was not about to turn his back on them in their hour of trial. Shepherd the hour of trial is upon the church and we must stand strong, do not abandon the sheep, they need you to lead them to the great shepherd.
Like David, Jesus knew that without Him we are powerless to fight against the roaring lion that is seeking to destroy our souls, we had no weapons, there was nothing we could do to save ourselves from death, hell and the grave. Thankfully Jesus knew how to conquer death, hell and the grave and He rouse to the occasion because of his great love for his sheep. He came to set the captives free, and to bind up the broken heart… Jesus came…He came for me and for you.. the heart of the shepherd is to restore the sheep back to the Father.
The heart of Good Shepherd is to lead you back to the fold, allow him to heal every broken places your life and restore you to the father.
I recognized that I am in need of a savior. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, I accept his finish work on the cross the penalty for my sins. I repent from my sins, wash me and cleanse me in your blood. I accept you as Lord and savior of my life.