I don’t know about you, but for me, the idea of God as our shepherd is one of the most comforting and inspiring images of being in relationship with Him.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
Just sit back and think for a moment: A domesticated sheep is completely dependent on the shepherd. If the sheep is separated from the flock, out in the wild, it is vulnerable to attack by any predator, likely to starve, and should the sheep fall over, it’s probably unable to get up on its own. A shepherd keeps it safe, fed, and secure… and that is precisely what our God does for us.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
In our daily lives, He will see to our needs, provide us with the strength we need to face the challenges of life, guard us against the attacks of evil, of danger, and of temptation if we ask Him. In His presence, our Good Shepherd will take on our burdens of life, of guilt, shame, doubt, and worry; He will even protect us from our own thought process if the need arises. He guides us in His righteous paths, He leads us in the ways of peace and love― He makes us whole. Yet like the sheep, we must remain in His loving care. We mustn’t just take off and run away from Him, for that is where the dangers lie, out there, on our own in the wilderness of life.
Even so, like the Good Shepherd that He is, when we wander off and are found once again, He rejoices with us, happy in our reunion with the flock as He holds us close in His loving arms.