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devotions

God is Our Shepherd
By Lori Rifkind
March 21, 2011


Scripture 
John 10:11-18

   11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

   14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Devotion
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary makes reference to the duties of a shepherd, and says that in Palestine, they were many.  In the early morning he led his flock to a place where they were to be pastured.  He made sure they had enough water to drink by leading them to a running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and supplied by troughs.  He watched the sheep all day long to be sure they remained safe.  If one strayed, he would look everywhere until that sheep was found and returned safely to the flock.  Often he had to guard the sheep at night so that they would not fall prey to the attack of wild beasts or a prowling thief. 

How I am in need of such a shepherd.  You are too, and if the truth be told, we all are!  It is our privilege to have not only a shepherd, but the Good Shepherd, Christ himself.  Let’s examine some of the reasons why.

A shepherd leads his flock to a place where they are to be pastured early in the morning.  Our Good Shepherd does this for us each time we read His Word and pray for direction for our daily lives.  It works best when I do this early in the day rather than later when I’ve had time to go down paths of my own choosing.   

A shepherd makes sure his sheep have enough water to drink.  Our Good Shepherd gives us “Living Water” that quenches our thirst.  He gives it out freely and lovingly as any Good Shepherd would do and His well never runs dry. 

A shepherd watches his flock all day to keep them safe.  If one gets lost, he searches every hillside until he finds it and returns it safely to the flock. Jesus loves us so much that He will keep looking for us no matter where we are or what our circumstances may be.  If we make some bad choices and end up on a treacherous hillside, He will wrap His loving arms around us and bring us back to where we belong.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, watches out for us even in the darkest times of our lives.  He protects us from Satan, the ultimate thief, who wants to stop God’s good work in us.  I’ve found that it’s easier to trust Jesus as I grow older, for the most part, because I’ve seen His faithfulness to me so many times before and can draw upon those experiences.  We serve a mighty, gracious, awesome, holy God and I’m so glad He is our Good Shepherd, aren’t you? 

Prayer
Dear Jesus, Thank you for being our Good Shepherd.  You provide all that we need and love us unconditionally.  How can we help but praise you? In Jesus name.  Amen.

Other scripture references
Ps 23; Isa 40:10-11; Ezek 34:15-16; Mt 18:12-14; Rev 7:15-17

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