A Shepherd Works
We have been thinking about getting a puppy for quite a while. When you’re going to get a puppy, you hear a lot about other people’s puppy stories. Last week, a new friend was telling me about her Australian Shepherd, which reminded me of a patient I’d had when I was a dental hygienist. This lady and her husband had two Australian Shepherds.
Two people and two dogs lived on one piece of land, out in the country, with a duck pond. With no sheep to herd, the dogs herded ducks. They herded geese. And when they had the opportunity, they herded any small children who came to visit. When she wasn’t careful, the Australian Shepherds herded my patient, too!
A Shepherd Protects
We use words like protector, guardian, defender, keeper, and overseer to describe shepherds. Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd to teach us about His character. He is our protector, guardian, defender, keeper, and overseer:
- I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep (John 10:11, NLT).
- I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me (John 10:14, NLT).
It’s no coincidence that the first people outside of Jesus’ family to hear about His birth were shepherds. God loves shepherds. King David was the most beloved king in Israel’s history, and he had been a shepherd in his youth. Tending sheep prepared him to protect and oversee the nation of Israel.
A Shepherd Watches
Shepherds are watchful; they must keep an eye out for bad weather and predators. One miraculous night, while they were keeping watch, some shepherds saw an amazing sight. These modest men were invited to meet baby Jesus, the Great I AM, Who came to Earth to be the Lamb of God.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12, NLT
In Week Three of Advent, we light the Shepherd’s Candle, which is also called the Joy Candle. Are you an overseer at work? Do you shepherd a flock of little lambs seated around your kitchen table? Do you lead a Bible study group? Maybe you watch over an aging parent? As you toil in the field that God gives you, try to see yourself as a shepherd, like those bewildered common people who were visited by the heavenly host.
A Shepherd Listens
Picture yourself, visited by God’s messengers, in the midst of your day job. Their message? Look for Christ, in the humble places…this news should bring you great joy! He’s here. He’s here to save and this is what He says:
Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
Isaiah 55:3, NLT
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