The Good Shepherd

There are two things to be constantly kept in mind in connection with the shepherd’s life, not only that he cares for the weak sheep and goes seeking for wandering sheep, but –

1. The shepherd generally, in his watch over the flock, takes his position on some place of elevation. In this way he is able to protect the interests of his sheep. Our shepherd is exalted, and at the right hand of God he has taken his seat. He is not standing, for that would indicate a work not completed and after the order of men, but seated, as our high priest (Heb. 10:11-12)

Do you remember how when Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and went into the garden of Gethsemane, he left the chosen three and went into the deepening shadows alone to pray? In the midst of his prayer he came back again to his disciples for a word of sympathy and found them sleeping. Have you ever noticed the sentence recorded at just that point? It is this: “For their eyes were heavy” (Matt. 26:43). It is the explanation given by our Lord, and recorded by the Holy Spirit, for their apparent failure. It was as if he said, “Poor men, they are tired out; they have had no rest; their eyes are heavy; it is not because they are indifferent.”

2. The shepherd always stands between his sheep and danger, and our shepherd does the same. If we are living where we ought to live and are right with him, he will turn aside the darts of the evil one. But if our walk is out of fellowship and our hearts are not right, it will be perfectly natural and easy for us to fall.

So today, when temptation comes, put Christ between you and it. When sin finds a place in your heart, break with it instantly in his power. For the least sin, encouraged and not forsaken, will lead you to awful defeat and despair. No child of God is strong enough to resist evil if he is out of fellowship with Christ. Put him between you and every thought of sin. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)

by J. Wilbur Chapman

But, O my Savior, who my refuge art,
Let thy dear mercies stand twixt them and me,
And be the wall to separate my heart,
So that I may at length repose me free,
That peace and joy and rest may be within,
And I remain divided from my sin.

by an Anonymous Elizabethan poet

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