Hey, my friends. Welcome to another bonus episode of Let’s Encourage One Another.
I was recently teaching through a passage in the book of Nehemiah where God’s people stood and listened to the Book of the Law be read to them for 3, 4, 5 hours… and was reminded of how blessed we are to be able to have copies of the Bible of our own to read and study, and to actually be able to read the words on the pages for ourselves.
Can you imagine living back when you didn’t know how to read and you had to attend a ceremony or meeting to hear a priest read God’s Word to you?
While I’m thankful for having the Bible to read on my own, I also don’t want to forget the power of having God’s Word read over you. Have you ever sat and listened to someone read Scripture? Like, just read it over you, letting the Holy Spirit move and work in your heart?
Today, I wanted to offer that gift to you. I am going to read through three passages that speak of God as being our Good Shepherd. This is an image of Him that has spoken tremendously to me over the past several years, and the details and pictures the Bible gives us of being under His care… it’s just beautiful.
As I read, I invite you to picture in the eye of your heart Jesus as your Good Shepherd. And I’ll offer some prayer prompts at the end for you to hold before the Lord.
So here in a moment I’ll start. The three passages I’ll be reading from are Ezekiel 34, Psalm 23, and John 10. I encourage you to quiet your heart and mind, sit in the silence with God for a moment, and ask Him to show you how He is your Good Shepherd. After I am finished, I will keep the music playing a bit longer, but I invite you to sit in the silence with God as long as He leads you.
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.”
- How does Jesus, the Good Shepherd, care for you?
- How does He interact with you?
- What do you see in His eyes as He draws near?
- How do you feel knowing that He is watching over you, watching for those who might hurt you?
- What is it like to think that Jesus laid down His life for you, because He loves you so incredibly much?
- What rises in your thoughts, your feelings, when He says that He speaks to His sheep?
- What does His voice sound like?
- What is the Good Shepherd’s invitation to you in this moment? Is it to rest? To eat? To come back home? Is it to let Him help you fight the enemy who is after you? To let Him bandage your wounds? To receive His comfort or strength?
Talk to the Shepherd about what you are noticing inside of you. See what He has to say.
Lord, may we hear Your voice and experience Your love even now…
- Ezekiel 34:11-16a NLT
- Psalm 23:1-4 NLT
- John 10:1-5, 11-15 NLT
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