Day 8

I Am the Good Shepherd

from the I Am: Statements of Our Savior reading plan


John 10:11-21, Psalm 23:1-6, Ezekiel 34:11-24, 1 John 3:16

BY Guest Writer

Sometimes a song undoes me. Certain lyrics and melodies have a way of releasing the yearnings of my heart. So it is with these words from Robert Robinson’s hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. / Prone to leave the God I love.”

My wandering makes me ache.

Is it any wonder that God’s people are called sheep so often in the Bible? Sheep need a shepherd. Without guidance, they easily wander and become lost. Don’t we also veer off into uncharted territory and become disoriented? Our agendas, worries, and unbelief all lead us away from dependence on Jesus, and soon we don’t know which way to turn.

Sheep need a protector. It is dangerous for them to stray from their shepherd’s care. Unlike animals with sharp claws or speedy legs, sheep are vulnerable and defenseless. If left alone, they will likely be attacked and killed by wild animals.

We, too, have a predator, an enemy of our souls. Scripture tells us to “be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We need a Shepherd to guide us, keep us in the fold, and protect us from our enemy.

Sheep also need a provider. They often cannot find clean water or nourishing grass on their own. They struggle to care for themselves. If sheep stumble and fall over, they cannot get back up and will die on the ground with their short legs sticking up in the air.

When faced with our own suffering and confusion, we also can find ourselves wrestling in the dusty dirt of life, struggling to get back on our feet. Like sheep, we need a Shepherd to make us lie down in green pastures and rest, to lead us beside quiet waters and renew us (Psalm 23:2–3).

David wrote the poetry of Psalm 23, and he intimately understood shepherding. As a boy, he tended his father’s sheep (1 Samuel 16:1–13). As King of Israel, he shepherded a nation. And in the midst of his own wandering, he wrestled in the dirt of his sin and brokenness, and realized just how desperately he needed a Shepherd (2 Samuel 11, Psalm 51).

Through the words of His prophet, Ezekiel, God graciously promises, “I myself will search for my flock and look after them” (Ezekiel 34:11). Jesus boldly echoes His Father and reveals His divine identity as He declares, “I am the good shepherd” who “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

Like David, Jesus lovingly tends his Father’s sheep. Like David, Jesus wrestled in the dirt of sin—but it wasn’t His sin. It was ours. Jesus conquered sin and death, just as John the Baptist boldly proclaimed He would: “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) The Good Shepherd willingly became the ultimate sacrificial Lamb to atone for our sin and make the way for His people to be right with God, to bring His sheep safe within the fold.

Yes, I ache when I wander. But I also rejoice when I recognize my Shepherd’s voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). His words ring true. His voice undoes me. What a Good Shepherd, what a Savior!

Post Comments (70)

70 thoughts on "I Am the Good Shepherd"

  1. Cathy says:

    Oops I meant Lilian

  2. Cathy says:

    Oh Morgan back in October you could not have foreseen where we find ourselves now. I love that you asked for prayer back then and for his shepherding as you navigate a wedding and your future. In prayer for you! Peace and love!

  3. Paige Perkins says:

    Come Thou Fount was the song I walked down the aisle to. It holds a special place in my heart and a great reminder to cling close to Him. I know that I am a sheep and prone to wonder away from the Lord I love!! Why do I try to do it on my own when offers grace upon grace?

  4. Allison Sherwood says:

    The metaphor of us as sheep and God as our shepherd is one of my favorites! I see it as emphasizing the great amount of love and care the Lord shows us every moment.

  5. Lillie Smith says:

    I am a senior in college and preparing for marriage. So much anxiety over where I will work, will I be serving God and will I even be able to find a job. Those questions haunt me at night and I want to so bad do what God has set out for me. Asking for prayers over anxiety and opening my heart to God.

  6. Morgan Mathews says:

    Loved this reminder of how dependent we need to be on Jesus, our good Shepherd, to fully sustain us. While this wasn’t what the post was on, I also loved reading in Ezekiel how the Lord calls for social justice and how he cares for the oppressed and the weak.

    1. Natalie Roush says:

      Hi Morgan! Yours was the only post I saw that mentioned the social justice aspect of the verse in Ezekiel! The reprimand from God to those for whom He was providing the “clear waters from which to drink and the good fields from which to eat” who were “muddying the streams trying to get the water and trampling the whole good field trying to get their piece of the good grass,” was a unique and convicting metaphor. It’s simultaneously rejoicing and inviting us to come to these good places He has for us while rebuking our scarcity mindset and obliviousness towards how our actions affect others.

      It seems to me that this is a summation of how the Gospel is for everyone and how one can drink of the Gospel waters and eat of the gospel good grass while still being so desperately broken and oblivious to the brokenness we perpetuate. And it is for God to judge between the sheep and the sheep. The ram and the ram.

      This is no longer a binary “good/bad” scenario, this is a complex, deep, heart matter between the shepherd and His sheep.

      How beneficial and kind for the God of all creation to invite his creatures into an understanding -we could comprehend – of how He distinguishes justice and identity.

      We can not comprehend the worth He has assigned us by His Love, because we can not comprehend how widespread our brokenness ripples inward and out.

      How even just obliviously enjoying good water could also destroy the stream for others.

  7. Christina Baillie says:

    Love Come Thou Fount – praying God binds our wandering hearts to Him x

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