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Thursday, July 27, 2006
"That Great Shepherd"
"For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25).
As we drive through the Pennsylvania countryside one of our favorite views is to watch wooly sheep and tottering lambs grazing in rich pasture. The other day we especially seemed to see a concentration of them in neighboring York County. Seeing sheep prompts reminders of what the Bible says about sheep and the Great Shepherd. This morning as I studied God's Word I am experiencing His peace when I consider my place as a sheep and His role as the Great Shepherd.
The Bible frequently uses the metaphor of a shepherd and sheep to demonstrate man's relationship with God. In fact it begins as early as Genesis 49:24 and it's in the final book as well in Revelation 7:17. Of course the most beloved passage concerning this is Psalm 23, along with our Lord's words, "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11).
In the daily text Peter seems to be alluding to a verse in Isaiah where we read that "we all, like sheep, have gone astray" (53:6). Indeed we have all gone astray, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
A sheep gone astray is in a dangerous setting. Sheep simply have no ability to protect themselves and are at the mercy of many other predatory animals. Peter wrote that our "enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Have you returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls? Although the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep, we have a free will. Are you in His fold today? If you're in His fold rejoice; life's biggest problem has been resolved!
If you haven't returned to Him, do you hear the voice of the Shepherd calling to you "Come home"? Respond to the beckoning voice of the Great Shepherd today. It's great to be under His steadfast love and care.
Our prayer for each reader today is the wonderful benediction in Hebrews: "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:20,21).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Today's musical supplement is an instrumental version of More Love to Thee, O Christ/Saviour like a Shepherd lead us (mp3 audio)
Lifeway Christian bookstores and is very excited about new ministry opportunities God is giving him.
In the daily text take note of the word "overseer" as well. This is the only place in the entire New Testament that the underlying Greek word "episkopos" ("bishop" in the KJV) is used in a description of God. It means one who watches over or superintends. That's what I need for my soul today and so do you. Praise the Lord!
A wonderful book that explores the relationship between the Shepherd and sheep is A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 By Phillip Keller
Walk the green pastures of faith and drink from the still waters of peace hidden in Psalm 23! Drawing from his experience as a professional sheep rancher, Keller leads you verse by verse through this beloved portion of Scripture, offering unique insights into the love our Good Shepherd bestows upon us, the sheep of his pasture. 142 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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