All throughout the Bible we see images of God as our Shepherd. Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The New Testament describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and tells us that He lays down His life for His sheep. Jesus says, that the sheep hear His voice.
I don’t have sheep, but I have two dogs – Darlene and Tobi. When I speak to them, they know my voice. If I were a stranger they wouldn’t listen. Now, understand what I’m saying. They don’t come immediately every time I call them but they absolutely know who’s calling them – they know MY voice.
Since both Darlene and Tobi are, shall we say “reluctantly obedient”, they have a tendency to ignore me at times when they would rather not “come as they’re called”. Especially if they’re distracted by their nose, having picked up the scent of squirrel or chipmunk they might want to chase (sorry Rachel).
In the house, however, when they’re not as distracted, when I call they come running. They know that on the other end is their loving owner who wants to rub their head, give them a treat, play with them, or the best of all (Oh please, please, please) take them for a ride in the car.
It works exactly the same way with the Lord, our Shepherd! What a beautiful thought that our Good Shepherd speaks to us. Here are just a few of the things He says in His Word: “Look to Me . . . I provide all of your needs. Cast your cares on me . . . for I care deeply for you. Rest in me . . . for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. I will do the work for you. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will guide you . . . follow me. I am always with you, I will never leave you. I will comfort you. My grace is sufficient. Don’t be afraid, I will protect you. I go before you and I will bless you. You are precious and honored in my sight and I love you. . . .”
So the question is, when the Good Shepherd calls you, considering all those great promises, are you reluctantly obedient, or do you immediately come running?
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3