In the Flock of the Good Shepherd
Prophet Isaiah depicted the kingdom of God as a sheepfold whose shepherd is the Lord who feeds His flock (Isa. 40:11). It is a familiar picture in the Bible. Jesus himself used the same illustration: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” (John 10:14).
This image of the kingdom of God teaches us that the Lord is the shepherd of the flock. He knows His sheep and their needs and feeds them accordingly. He is the one who guides the flock along the good and everlasting way. For that reason the psalmist writes, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:1–3).
The Lord is always with His flock, even today. His Holy Spirit teaches and guides the flock. When God’s Spirit speaks to us, we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. Jesus said, “When he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:4).
In this flock we have an unerring guide who knows our needs. We can trust in our Good Shepherd. God has given us a secure dwelling place. “Fear not, little flock;” Jesus said, “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
The Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, knows His sheep and what they need. He feeds His sheep heavenly manna. On the wilderness journey, the people of Israel were fed each day with manna from heaven. This simple and unchanging diet sustained them each day on the journey.
Also in our time the Lord feeds His flock with the simple manna of His Word. This Word is unchanging and sustains the child of God on the journey to the promised land. It is good to be in the care of the Good Shepherd! We can say as the psalmist David did: when the Lord is our shepherd, we lack nothing (Ps. 23).
The word of the gospel is our food and in it is the power of God (Rom. 1:16). This food was the source of power for the Old Testament wilderness travelers. It was the source of strength for our forefathers in faith who have finished their journey and reached their destination. It remains the same source of strength that will bring us – and generations to come – to our eternal home.
In 2020, we experienced a time unlike any that most of us have seen in our lives. This affected our daily lives and the work of God’s kingdom. Yet we experienced that the Good Shepherd still cares for His flock.
As we begin a new year and wonder what 2021 will bring, we yet remain in the security of God’s kingdom and His unchanging Word. As God has guided and blessed His kingdom in years past, may He bless us and the work of His kingdom in the coming year as well.