He Is Our Shepherd

2020-10-11 – When the Lord is Our Shepherd – Part 1
The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Ezekiel 34:7–16; Psalm 23; John 10:1-15

Introduction to the Series

  • The COVID-19 Pandemic, Civil Unrest, a Contentious Election.
  • David Roseberry had all of this in mind as he wrote his new devotional book, When the Lord is My Shepherd: Finding Hope in a Hard Time.
  • The book began as a series of personal, daily reflections as Roseberry meditated on Psalm 23 in the early days of the Pandemic. He found great comfort in remembering that the Lord is his Shepherd.
  • In the coming weeks, we will dwell in this shepherding image. We will remember God’s faithfulness and how we can trust him. We will remember how he reigns over all things. We will remember how he cares for each of us individually, as well as for his flock, the church, collectively.

I am a Sheep

  • In the Bible, people (especially the people of God) are frequently compared with sheep.
  • Sheep were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated. They have been bred for their wool, their meat, their milk production, and for their docile temperment.
  • Sheep are very social – “ensuring that sheep always have visual contact with other sheep will prevent excess stress when moving, handling, or housing them…A sheep will become highly-agitated if it is separated from the rest of the flock.”
  • Sheep are known for flocking – this is really their only natural defense against predators.
  • Sheep follow the leader – for good or for ill. “The flocking and following instinct of sheep is so strong that it caused the death of 400 sheep in 2006 in eastern Turkey. The sheep plunged to their death after one of the sheep tried to cross a 15-meter deep ravine, and the rest of the flock followed.”
  • Like sheep, we are social people. That is one of the reasons this season of social distance has been so difficult!
    • We need each other, we need our flock: this is our community of support and encouragement and protection from the enemy.
  • Like sheep, we need a good leader to follow who can keep us safe and keep us moving in the right direction together. We need a shepherd.

I Need a Shepherd

  • Old episode of West Wing – The president’s chief of staff has a massive heart attack and the senior staff try to cope without a replacement for a few days.
  • The job of am Old Testament shepherd was a lowly one. It was a hard, thankless job.
  • “Being a shepherd was a poor man’s position in the Bible…” (Roseberry, 29).
  • It is interesting that King David began life as a Shepherd and ended up becoming a king. He viewed his kingship in much the same was he viewed his role as a shepherd. Now he was shepherding people. Looking out for their welfare.
  • David was (mostly) a good king. He took his shepherd role seriously.
  • Many of the leaders in the Old Testament (priests and kings especially) shirked their responsibility to shepherd God’s people.
  • Ezekiel 34:2c-4
  • Think about the leaders of the world today. How do they view their role? How to they behave?
    • The leaders of this world often care more for themselves than for the people they represent and govern.
    • The influencers of this world often lead us astray in paths that lead to hurt, pain, destruction, and death.
  • It is my goal to be a faithful shepherd to each of you as your pastor, but I am a sinner, just like you, and I am limited in what I can accomplish.
    • I am more of an undershepherd, and my job is to point you to the one shepherd who can truly care for you…for us.

He is Our Shepherd

  • “God does not shrink back from the image of the Shepherd…” (Roseberry, 30).
  • John 10:7-10
    • The thief vs. the shepherd. This is the difference between the OT wicked shepherds and God himself.
    • Kill and destroy vs. abundant life
  • How do you view God? Do you see him as powerful, almighty, omnipotent, King of kings, Lord of lords, the creator of everything? He is all these things.
    • But he is also your Shepherd! Say, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
    • Humble, loving, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and mercy.
      • “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
    • He understands the needs of the world and he cares.
      • “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
    • He understands your needs and he cares.
      • “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
  • Roseberry talks about the importance of this phrase, “By saying, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd,’ you have opened up your heart, and your life to the influence, guidance, friendship, and protection of a loving God” (Roseberry, 36-37).
  • As we continue this series, next week we will talk about trust and how we can always trust Jesus to be our guide, our protector, our provider, and our salvation.

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