Micah 5:4-5a – He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace. (NIV)
One of the gentlest people whom I have ever met was a shepherd. His family had been shepherds for generations, so it was natural for him to follow in their footsteps. He was a clever man who probably could have been a great teacher at college or university. When he spoke in church or community meetings, everyone listened. Whatever the issue or situation, it was obvious that he had given a great deal of thought to it. He presented his ideas and opinions in a quiet, unassuming way. More often than not, whatever decisions were made, they usually included much of what the shepherd had expressed.
I guess that in working with sheep on the hillsides, one gets plenty of time to think clearly. Because things are generally quiet, one doesn't have to raise one's voice or get upset when making a point. This shepherd knew the value of simple words and a simple message. It was simply brilliant.
I think that's why one of our most favourite images of Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We've seen countless images and stained glass windows that depict Christ in this manner. The serenity of those pictures makes us feel secure and embraced. The Good Shepherd loves us and gently calls us to Himself.
Some of us may be going through hard times and be stressed out and weary. We may feel frightened or confused about the issues we are facing. We may be angry or distressed at being hurt or disappointed. During those times, amid the clamour of our concerns, the gentle voice of peace and assurance comes to us from Jesus. He knows the issues; He understands our worries. He's had time to think about them; and now He has gentle thoughts to express to our hearts and minds. If we quietly take time out, we will hear His voice. If we turn towards Him now, He will gently speak to us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Shepherd of our lives and souls. Sometimes, we worry deeply over our problems and think that there is no end to them. We fearfully forget that our lives are in Your hands. Talk to us today about our troubles, and gently show us the path towards peace, resolution, hope, and love. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.