The Good Shepherd
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 147:12-20 | Zechariah 10:1-11:17 | Revelation 18:1-24 | Proverbs 30:33
Today’s Scripture Focus: Zechariah 10:1-11:17
The idols speak deceitfully, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd. “My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah (Zechariah 10:2-3 NIV).
The image of a shepherd leading his sheep is a familiar theme in Scripture. Here the shepherds of God’s people are being chastised for not leading the people as they should.
It is an incredible responsibility to be a leader of people. The leader is not only responsible for his or her own actions—but is also to lead the people under their care in the right direction.
How had the leaders of Judah been doing? Not very well. The political “shepherds”—the Kings of Judah—were, on the whole, a miserable lot who more often than not led the people further and further into idolatry.
The spiritual leaders weren’t doing much better. The prophets are chided for bringing false comfort. Under the leadership of priests and prophets, the people of God regularly drifted away from the worship of the LORD to worship and serve idols made by human hands. Therefore God’s people “wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.”
Still God is not done with his people. He tells them that he, himself, will come to lead them as their shepherd. He, himself, would come to lead and guide them onto the right path.
Jesus picks up this image as the “Good Shepherd” as recorded in John’s gospel. He is the good shepherd who even lays down his life for the sheep.
Earthly leaders do often fail us. Yet God is with us to lead us and guide us (Psalm 23), and he has given us the good shepherd in Jesus to love and care for us. Follow his lead.
Good Shepherd, lead us each day in your truth. Guide us on the right path. Keep us from wandering from your path. Amen.