SHEPHERD OF LOVE
“THE LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want” Ps. 23:1. The Scripture teaches us of a wonderful, loving, personal Savior. We are blessed to know Him as the merciful and faithful Shepherd of our souls. He that came to seek and save that which was lost, has also restored that which He took not away. I am always impressed with thoughts of His loving tender care when I read of the Shepherd in Luke 15. He calls heaven to rejoice over that which He has found, laid on His shoulders and brought home. I can say it is good to know His voice in Scripture, and in experience.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
When we behold the Lamb of God that came to take away the sin of the world, we also see the Good Shepherd that loved us and gave Himself for us. He was motivated by love to His Father and for us, when He laid down His life for the sheep. Jn. 10:11
We hear the Good Shepherd crying out in Psalms 22, “MY GOD, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people” Vs. 1,6. It touches our heart to read of His deep emotion as He looks down from the Cross and said, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels…I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture,” and especially: “Deliver…my darling from the power of the dog” Vs. 14,17,18,20. This Shepherd of love, tasted death for all men, when He was tasting death for me. Praise God, Jesus was also…
THE GREAT SHEPHERD
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” Heb. 13:20-21. He, that Great Shepherd having arose from the dead, supplies all our needs, graciously leads, and richly feeds His faithful sheep. We are so abundantly blest, as He gives us rest, and strength for approaching tests. On the way He imparts overflowing joy in the Spirit, and will bring us to our and His eternal home. Ps. 23.
THE CHIEF SHEPHERD
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” I Pet. 5:2-4.
This Shepherd of love is willing to use those He has nourished, to nourish others. Paul was indeed an outstanding spiritual nourisher. He was inspired to tell those that met Him from Ephesus; “…I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take need therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” Acts 20:27-28.
“Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine” Jn. 21:12. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter…lovest thou me more than these?” When Peter answered that he loved Jesus, Jesus told him to feed His lambs and sheep. Here we have an interesting and proper sequence. First dining on the Lord’s provisions, loving Him more than anything else, and then sharing His nourishment with His purchased possessions.
Those fed were instructed to feed others. But here we find the secret of being beneficial in the Lord’s will. Love for Him and His, must motivate us or else we miserably fail. There are many floggers, and fleecers abound, but where are the true spiritual nourishers? Some years ago I heard a minister say that too many ministers were leaving their first love, by leaving the ministry. He was quoting from Revelation 2:4. Each member in the body of Christ has a ministry, but we each are to love the Person, Christ instead of a position. The Love of Christ must constrain us to any work of faith, labor of love or else we are getting the cart before the horse. Jesus’ walk in love took Him all the way to the Cross and He invites us to take up our cross and follow Him.
The Songs of Solomon teach us many good things about the love relation between our dear Lord and His people. We read in the first Song verse seven, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” He answers. “If thou knowest not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherd’s tents” Song of Solomon 1:7-8. I am thankful that we find recorded the steps that Jesus took as He walked here, and of those that faithfully followed Him. He has flocks of companions, and his companions have had flocks that know His voice.
We read that Jacob kept sheep for a wife. Our dear Lord laid down his life as the Good Shepherd. He rose again and as the Great Shepherd he keeps his sheep, leading them from victory unto victory. He will soon return triumphant as the Chief Shepherd, the KING OF GLORY Psalm 24. He will then be rewarded with a glorious bride, and richly reward His faithful under shepherds. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! GLORY TO GOD.