Sunday, August 6, 2017

God Our Shepherd

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 34:11-16

TO CHEW ON:  I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, ...” Ezekiel 34:15,16

If you were compared to an animal, you would probably not want someone to say you were like a sheep. Sheep are easily led astray. When they get lost, they are not smart enough to find their way back home. They are not agile and quick but clumsy and slow. Their heavy coats of wool slow them down even more, making them an easy catch for wolves or mountain lions. In order for sheep to survive, they need someone to look after them.

But the Bible often compares people to sheep. That’s what God said the Israelites were like when they were far from home in Babylon. God promised to be a shepherd to them, even though their problems came from their headstrong, sheep-like ways. He would search for the lost ones, rescue the ones that were trapped or caught, bandage the hurt ones and make the weak ones strong.

Someday He would bring them back to their home. Again they would eat on its lush green hillsides. When they felt full they would lie down without fear because He would be watching out for danger.
Shepherd and Sheep by Annie VallottonIllustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.

This message that God gave Ezekiel for the people shows how much God loved them. Though today’s reading was first a promise that God would someday bring the Israelites back to their land, it is also a picture of the way God is a shepherd to us. We are like sheep just as those Israelites. God will be our shepherd too.

Are we lost? God can find us. Are we hurt? God can make us better. Are we hungry? God can feed us. Are we weak? God can make us strong.

How will God do these things? He may use the people we know or strangers. He may use things that look like ordinary happenings or miracles. However He does it, we can trust Him to be our shepherd.

PRAYER: Dear God, please be a shepherd to me like You were to the Israelites. Amen.

MORE: Shepherds
Through books and the internet find out more about shepherds.
1. What was a shepherd’s life like in Bible times?

2. Are there still people who work as shepherds today? What do they do?

3. How is the life of a shepherd today different from a shepherd in Bible times? How are they alike?

Sheep grazing on a field in Saskatchewan, Canada

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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