Devotionals
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October 20, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where are you currently being stubborn when it comes to giving something over to God?


“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:14-18

 

The imagery of a shepherd tends to get lost on us in our modern world. However, this metaphor would’ve resonated deeply with Jesus’ audience. Not only was this a job present in their culture, the image of a sheep and shepherd were also used throughout the Old Testament. Jesus utilizes this imagery to describe Himself. The job of a shepherd gives us a glimpse into His heart as well as shines light on our human tendencies. In a way, these passages should cause two different reactions to well up within us, comfort and humility.

 

We are cared for and protected by a God who knows us intimately. Every day the Shepherd makes sure that the needs of His flock are met. The Good Shepherd guides them through danger and rescues them when they’re lost. But, Jesus takes it a step further to a point that would appear crazy to His listeners. This shepherd was willing to lay down His life for some sheep. These animals are a dime a dozen. Why go so far as dying for them?  The shepherd’s actions show how valued we are in His eyes. However, think about the implications on what Jesus is saying about us. If He’s our shepherd, than what does that make us? DUMB SHEEP. That’s what we are.

 

Sheep are notoriously stubborn, stupid and helpless. We are lost and helpless. Without the protection of a caring shepherd, we startle easily when we are in danger or faced with uncertainty. We can be prideful and think we know the right direction for our lives, but just like sheep, we often don’t see the steep cliff that awaits us on the other end. For as clueless as sheep are, there is one thing they do very well: they know their shepherd’s voice. During Jesus’ time, at night shepherds would bring their flock to a common stall with only one gate in and out. All the sheep would spend the evening there, but no shepherd worried about their flock getting mixed up over night. Why?

 

When the sheep heard the voice of their shepherd, they’d separate from the rest of the pack and follow his lead. A sheep instinctively knew who his or her shepherd was just by their voice. Even though other shepherds would call to the sheep, they only responded to the call of their owner. This is why we must humbly tune our ears and listen to His voice. We must know His voice because there are others who are vying for our attention and affection. Discernment only comes when we immerse ourselves in His Word and surround ourselves with others who are also pursuing God’s heart. Recognizing His voice and His leading enables us to confidently take our next step of faith.  Where are you currently being stubborn when it comes to giving something over to God?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank You for being a loving shepherd who guides and protects me. Lord help me to hear and trust Your voice. Jesus let me see myself as a sheep that is utterly helpless and vulnerable without You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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