I don’t know about you but I’ve never heard God speak in an audible voice. I have however on a number of occasions known that He had something to say to me.  

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. The scripture passage that you read in your morning devotion is shared later that day on the radio. A ‘random’ podcast you choose to listen to on your drive to work touches on a theological topic you were just discussing recently with a friend. The ‘non-sermon-based’ Bible study group you are part of works through the same book of the Bible as the current church sermon series. You’d be surprised how many times this has happened over the years in our KYB (Know Your Bible) studies. 

For me, the teaching that God is my Good Shepherd has been popping up everywhere in my life recently. It began with Emma sharing a beautiful reflection on Psalm 23 in a blog earlier this year. Then, as I began my readings for a unit I’m studying, discovered the course is all about God as our Shepherd and how we can give shepherding care to others. And in my first radiation session, with the machine moving around me and my mind searching for a Scripture to hold onto, what should pop into my head but the beautiful old hymn ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’, a song I continued to sing in my head during every radiation treatment. 

And so, while God didn’t call my name aloud, it seemed clear that He had something to say, something He wanted me to know. And so, I prayed, “Ok God, you’ve got my attention. I’m listening. What is it you want to say to me?” And this is just a little of what He’s been teaching me.  

God is indeed our Good Shepherd. In Him we lack no good thing. For His care for us is comprehensive. As His flock, He feeds us, He leads us and protects us (Psalm 23). His faithful, gentle care is evident in this beautiful description in Isaiah, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11). His heart is tender toward us. Like a parent for his/her child. 

Yet the Shepherding relationship differs from the parenting relationship in its extent. Children grow up and become less dependent on their parents. But a sheep always needs its shepherd. As sheep, we will never outgrow our need for The Shepherd to care for us, feed us, lead us and protect us. May we echo Jacob’s words at the end of our life and proclaim with a thankful heart that the Lord is “…the God who has been my shepherd all my life…” (Genesis 48:15). 

The Lord is more than just a kind Shepherd, He is a saving Shepherd. He searches for us, rescues us from danger and gathers us to Himself.  The Psalmist praised God as the ‘Shepherd’ of Israel for saving Israel from Egypt and leading them into the Promised Land (Psalm 78:5). Likewise, in Psalm 23, David exalts the Lord as his Shepherd for leading him through the valley of death to feast in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:4-5). The Lord’s care for His sheep is not just personal care, it is saving care, care that brings us into His Kingdom! 

God has so much He wants to teach us and say to us. As His sheep, may we listen, recognize and respond to our Shepherd’s voice.  

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)