When teaching in the nursing homes a favorite topic to the attendees is to prompt them to study the scriptures on their own, to encourage them to continue in their faith. I will ask them if any have memorized scripture, to which none will admit to remembering, until through some prompting they all seem to remember John 3.16, and Psalms 23. I merely start reciting, “The LORD is my shepherd,” and watch out, they remember and take it from there.
The clear, revealing message from Psalms 23 is, Jehovah cares for us like a shepherd cares for his flock. The shepherd actually becomes attached to those he is to care for. He knows their timidness, their fears, their limits, their abilities, their strengths and their weaknesses. He protects, guides, leads, rescues, and provides for his flock. This is an obvious metaphor for the way Jehovah reacts to those who are His people. One of the most compelling lines in this psalm is “He restores my soul.” In todays world it seems the focus is taking mankind away from the truth that we are spiritual beings that have a soul, an inner being, a spiritual part of us that needs attention. Our soul is so important to our health, our peace, our wellbeing, and our relationships with others. We all meet people who seem shallow, and fake, but so often the reason is they have no knowledge of this important part of their person, and that is they are spiritually unaware. Jehovah reveals himself, calls to us, restores us, then He leads, provides, protects, and cares for us.
Now comes the sticky part of this teaching from Ezekiel 34. God has called men to be leaders, shepherds for His flock. In this passage the Priests, and temple leaders are being called out. These are the shepherds of Israel, that God has called and entrusted to care for His flock, and it’s being revealed that instead of caring for the flock they are feeding off of them. A dire warning is given to the bad shepherds of Israel, and then it’s revealed that Jehovah, Himself will seek, find, and restore His people, binding the broken, and strengthening the sick. This is a prophetic passage concerning the coming promised Messiah.
Luke 15.1-7 Jesus tells the leaders of Israels flock yet once again, in a parable this time, of Jehovahs plan to seek, find and restore the lost sheep of the world. In fact, to the amazement of everyone He says He would leave the 99 in the open pasture to seek the one that was astray. Often misunderstood, He is saying that the self righteous who are deemed to need no repentance, are not as favored as the one who has gone astray, and repented of their sin.
In conclusion it seems that Jehovah cares for us like a shepherd cares for his flock. If you are called into leadership positions in the church, take it very seriously, peoples souls are at stake. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God has made to care for us like a good shepherd.