Tag Archives: Lord our Shepherd

Christian Faith Mentor-s Needed – Crown of Glory – How, Who and Why

What Does It Mean to Be a Mentor – Mentorship

God is raising up latter-day shepherds (mentor-s) according to His heart who are feeding His sheep with knowledge and understanding and who will receive the crown of glory. This prophecy in the book of Jeremiah is being fulfilled in our day.

You may already be one of these mentors, and if you would like to be, here is how to get started. The harvest field is not closed to the faithful. You can’t miss this opportunity to face the what, why and how of becoming a Christian mentor for God’s glory online or off!

What is the Current State of Shepherding, or Mentoring?

Saturday, 9:00 A.M. “Hello Pastor Morgan! Did I wake you?” Sheep aren’t very smart

These words irritated Dad more than he ever let on. He was a bi-vocational pastor for 35 years – a very good finished carpenter. He worked harder than most men I know. When he came home at noon, he laid flat on the floor to rest his back.

He was up at 6:00 a.m. every morning, even weekends, trying his best to have a sermon on Sunday and able to teach every Wednesday night. There was also a committee meeting almost every night of the week where he was expected to be. We four kids saw very little of our father.

In every place we lived, which was never over four years, Dad either built or remodeled the church building. He was the contractor using the architect’s drawings; men of the church helped when possible. Sometimes he even had to have an additional carpentry job besides this in order to feed his growing family.

At his last pastorate, he and mother physically tore down the old church building and reconstructed it into a beautiful parsonage. Of course, that was after Dad had built a wonderful new church building that left the congregation without debt!

It wasn’t long before they left the ministry so they could buy a house (without having to live in a parsonage) and have it paid off before they died. That house paid for mother’s care after Dad passed away. Their $200 monthly-retirement benefit plus Social Security would not have done it.

Never did my parents have the time or felt the freedom to ask friends over for fellowship. They felt they would cause someone to be jealous. Mother craved to be able to do something besides go to meetings, but Dad was always too tired.

Statistics about pastors, or mentor-s

When I came across some statistics about pastoring, I realized my dad was one of millions [i]:

72% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 57% believe they do not receive a livable wage, so like Dad, they probably have another job. 80% believe the pastorate negatively affects their families, and only 1 out of 10 retire as a pastor.

While 54% find the role overwhelming, and 45% spend only 10-15 hours a week on sermon preparation, is it any wonder some Christians feel they’ve never been fed or discipled, and people are leaving the church.?

No One Leader Can Do Alone the Work of Pastoring, Shepherding or Mentor-ing

One person cannot do the job of pastoring sheeple alone, whether it’s a small church or large. Although Moses had been a shepherd, he was an overwhelmed and overworked leader of millions, and he had a lot to learn. His father-in-law Jethro looked on as Moses tried to govern the people all by himself.

Jethro advised Moses to teach faithful men who would be able to teach others also and put them over 1,000s, 100’s, 50s, and 10s. Only the difficult situations were brought to Moses and for all the others, the people took responsibility for themselves.

In other words, Moses was assisted by mentors who taught in small, medium and large group settings. The sheeple didn’t have to stand around and wait from morning until night to see Moses. Every person was accounted for and no one was left behind.

In sheep terms, when one became ‘cast’  – (overturned on its back due to heavy wool) people noticed in the small groups and helped them get on their feet again before they died.

The Moses’ example shows how the sheep got fed, tended and cared for. My dad’s greatest worry as a pastor was having time to study in order to feed the sheep. Even after he had built a new church building, a lady I will call Martha complained to him about not being fed. So, he moved away, feeling inadequate.

I believe Martha later realized her mistake in complaining, because she began studying the Bible, learned about the Holy Spirit’s desire and ability to help her become a mentor, and fed a small group of sheeple herself. She became a good and willing teacher as she kept learning herself.

THE SOLUTION: Take Responsibility to Mentor Others While Feeding Ourselves

CROWN Calling Real Ordinary Women and Men to Receive the Grown of Glory - Become a Mentor

Probably, without even realizing it, Martha was doing what the Bible instructed her to do. Titus, Chapter 2, speaks about older women being an example for younger ones, showing how to love their husbands and children, being virtuous and pure, and good homemakers. It also gives instructions to older and younger men to lead disciplined lives with integrity and wisdom. However, this next Scripture is more thorough about what it means to be a mentor and the reward for being so:

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

The Crown of Glory – Reserved for All Mentors

My dad was a willing example to his flock and led with integrity. While planning one new church building, an older lady was upset at the prospect of putting in a basement with stairs. Dad listened to her and changed his plans. Although my dad and I differed on the biblical teachings about the Holy Spirit, he was called and qualified to be a pastor shepherd and glorified the Lord.

Dad has also received the crown of glory. I believe this crown of glory is reserved for all mentors, although it is also called the elder’s crown, or shepherd’s crown and here’s why:

The root word for glory is doxa: splendor, radiance, and majesty centered in Jesus. Doxa is the majestic, absolute perfection residing in Christ and evidenced by the miracles He performed. Jesus prayed to His Father for us all, “All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:10 NKJV). As we willingly watch and care for the flock in our sphere of influence, He is glorified through us.

[For a free printable of all the 5 crowns, go HERE>> 5 Eternal Crown Rewards]

Mentors Equip the Saints for the Work of the Ministry

Furthermore, Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us Jesus “Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Did you catch that? We, as the saints and ordinary people, are to do the work of the ministry to edify the big C Church, the body of Christ worldwide. We are shepherds operating ultimately under the mighty hand of Almighty God, and Jesus Christ who is the only perfect, good Chief Shepherd!

Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). He did it through Peter and the early disciples and He wants to do it through us latter disciples, too. We are accountable to Him to teach and mentor others in everyday life.

How Are We to Care for the Sheep, or to Mentor?

Ezekiel was a prophet who brought out how important it was for the individual to take responsibility in watching, speaking up and warning the sheep:

“You, son of man [Ezekiel], are the watchman. I’ve made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life” (Ezekiel 33:7-9 MSG).

Deaths of people are on the rise around the world from taking risky selfies. India has the most, with young people doing anything, no matter how dangerous to get a good selfie to go viral on social media, like standing on high narrow bridges. A young man reports he lost 24 of his friends one by one as they were swept into the river where they sat on rocks in it. On Mt. Everest in Nepal, people stack themselves like dominos against each other as they strive to reach the top for a selfie. Nine people died in one week.

People are going into eternity thinking they are not worth more than a fly we swat on a table. We must speak up and warn them of danger and mentor them in the ways of Lord–that “the thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and that they may have it to the full” (John 10:10).

If the sheep do not have green grass, they will eat dry leaves.Click to Tweet

Whose Responsibility, Really, is it to Mentor -Shepherd the Sheep

Jesus is the only Good Shepherd. He laid down His life for the sheep. He bought them with His blood and, therefore, is the owner. He is the only one who really cares enough for them to not abandon them. The hired hand will run away when wolves attack (John 10:11-13). Jesus is the only one who can save us, has saved us, and cares for us.

Ezekiel, chapter 34, is a whole chapter about irresponsible shepherds, how God feels about them, and what he is doing right now about the situation:

“God’s Message came to me [Ezekiel]: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, ‘God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren’t shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don’t feed the sheep. You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost.

“You bully and badger them. And now they’re scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them! (Ezekiel 34:1-6 MSG).

The shepherds of Israel, and many today, have fleeced the sheep rather than having fed them. What is God’s response to this?Click to Tweet

“God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms . . . And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited . . . I’ll come in and save my dear flock, no longer let them be pushed around. I’ll step in and set things right between one sheep and another.

“I’ll appoint one shepherd over them all: my servant David [Jesus Christ of David’s lineage]. He’ll feed them. He’ll be their shepherd. And I, God, will be their God. My servant David will be their prince. I, God, have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:11-24 MSG).

Whose Responsibility is it to Mentor and Feed the Sheep?

Jesus will feed His sheep. He has done so with His Word and given us many translations of the Bible today for us to be able to understand with the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit that He sent us. Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep three times––to teach others with His knowledge and understanding.

You can be a good teacher and mentor, too, if you have overcome a difficulty in life and desire to comfort others also (2 Cor. 1:4) you can encourage them with your story and witness (Rev. 12:11); the love of Christ compels us to do so. “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Maybe God is calling you to write? Have you written a journal for years knowing it has to lead somewhere? Here it is…now is the time!

“Then [in the final time] I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and [true] understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15 AMP).

God is raising up latter-day shepherds (mentor-s) according to His heart who are feeding His sheep with knowledge and understanding––who will receive the crown of glory. This prophecy in the book of Jeremiah is being fulfilled in our day. #CrownReward, #CrownOfGlory, #CrownOfGloryJesus, #FaithMentor, #FaithMentoring, #ChristianMentoring,
Painting is by Pat Jessie at https://patjesseecreations.com/ Used with permission.

Isn’t this what must happen if we, as the bride of Christ, are to be without spot or wrinkle, so that the Chief Shepherd will want to return to claim us and give us the crown of glory? We must be willing and obedient to mentor with knowledge and true understanding.

I know one thing for sure. He doesn’t want to marry an immature bride. He won’t. He will wait until she grows up to mentor others.

 

Jesus doesn't want to marry an immature bride. He won't. He will wait until she grows up to mentor others. #ChristianMentor, #CrownOfGlory, #FaithMentorClick to Tweet

Now is the time! We have to grow up and quit expecting someone else to do the work of the ministry. That work is ours to do. Our Chief Shepherd is waiting for us to make His mission ours. He is calling!

Volunteers Have Answered the Call

There’s a Scripture I’ve been waiting and watching to see fulfilled for many years: “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew”(Ps. 110:3 NASB).

This day of power is NOW! I asked the Lord recently how I would know when this day would be here. A while later I was praying for confirmation to know if I should start a writers’ group after a lady asked me to help her. An image came up on Facebook from times past where I had the option to share it. I did, but instead of it going to my timeline and the news feed for all my friends to see, I received a message through this one lady saying, “That’s nice!”–from a lady who had asked me to help her learn to write.

The image had gone directly to her, chosen from all my friends, and not on my timeline at all. The Lord spoke to my heart, “This is what I mean about the day of my power. I will get your message supernaturally to the right people, at the right time, in the right way as you are willing to share.”

I’m watching millions of people mentor with their Christian faith as mother to mother, parent to parent, marriage to marriage, older to younger, younger to older and men doing the same. Plus, all are creating beautiful printables to share Scriptures and Bible knowledge, with an explosion of books. [If you want to find them, go to Pinterest: Education]

Since I restarted blogging a couple of years ago, I’ve come across several women who teach how to get your writings to be read online and your products known. Millions of these amazing fantastic people have small, medium or very large mailing lists which comprise their sheeple, or flock.

>To read a word from Lana Vawser to writers go HERE>> Writers take heart-you are breaking new ground. 

Suzi Whitford, a millennial mom of faith, who offers a free start-a-mom-blog course for beginners and/or advanced users, says that 1 in 5 millennial moms have a blog. They grew up with the internet, are smart and highly educated––as she is (with an industrial engineering degree).

Suzi says, “Because of our grandmothers, we want to be stay-at-home moms, and because of our own mothers, we want to be in the workforce.”

She reports that in 2014 there were 4.4 million moms blogging and they are increasing at one million per year. Many monetize their blog and make a good income.

Will You Answer the Online Mentoring Call?

If you are interested in joining the online media missionary mentors, you need to know about these other Christian women who are mentoring younger and older women and men to know how to serve in partnership with Jesus. Many pastor’s wives have found their niche online and off:

How to Start a Blog and Keep it Going:

Kira Bridges – mentor and consultant – “You Don’t Have to Do It All – Equipping women to live a set-apart life on and off-line.” Kira teaches blogging and Pinterest marketing strategies.

Deb Wolf – manages Blessing Bloggers Facebook group for Christian bloggers. She has a consistent weekly strategy to assist bloggers to share each other’s posts and on all social networks with prayer all along the way.  Her blog is Here. 

Alisa Nicaud hosts Bloggers Corner – a Facebook group for Christian bloggers offering teamwork mentor-ship. She gives great support on any blogging question and offers courses. Her blog is Here 

Kelly R. Baker hosts the Blogger Voices Network Facebook Group which mentors Christian bloggers in teamwork strategies “With One Voice.” Her blog site is Here

Kelly Holmes was a professional writer and editor for 15 years. She makes a full-time income from blogging and offering her sticky blogging course by sharing her secrets to attract readers and keep them. Her site is Here

Ruth Soukup has two good books about blogging to mentor starters: How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul and Do It Scared. She has a large following with her Elite Blogging Academy. Her site is here 

If you think you might be serious about starting a blog, you will find this article a good foundation: The Complete Evolution of Blogging: Everything You Need to Know

If You Want to Start Your Own off-line Small Group or Mentor One-on-One

I can help you host a small group of probably 10 or less at your church or in your neighborhood.<< Click Link Here

I have also mentored one-on-one at local restaurants. Click this>> Each One Teach One link.

Both options have been the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Interpersonal relationships are the best although finding people online you can mentor is great too.  That’s why I put my discipleship book on this blog site in a 15-minute e-course devotional. Learn more at the button below.

My discipleship workbook is GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. To learn more how this book has impacted lives, go HERE

A user- friendly leader’s guide for the first timer is also available at the “Get the Book(s)” link below.

The Lord gives the command, the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host–Psalm 68:11

Recommended reading: God is Raising up His Ezekiel Watchman Prophets Now

Free Booklet, Because God Is . . . I Am, with sign up of Free eCourse

 

FREE E COURSE - LEARN MORE

 

 

TESTIMONIALS

 

Get the Book(s)



[i] Statistics provided by the Fuller Institute, George Barna, Lifeway, Schaeffer Institute of Leadership Development, and Pastoral Care Inc. (accessed May 21, 2019).

Bible quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society unless otherwise indicated, Used by permission of Zondervan; The New American Standard Bible®. Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, www.Lockman.org; The Amplified® Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; The Message. Copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by NavPress Publishing Group; and The King James Version of the Bible.

Girl holding crown of glory to her head. Receive the crown by becoming a mentor

M5G Our Guidance Story, Because Our Lord is Shepherd

Our Story of Learning Guidance

Our Story of Learning how to trust God's guidance. Our hearts were in turmoil. There was no peace for either of us in our present situation without God's guidance, even though Jim was making good money. We had absolutely no idea what to do. Something had to change.

Our hearts were in turmoil. There was no peace for either of us in our present situation without God’s guidance, even though Jim was making good money. I worked during income tax season and was able to stay home with our two preschool children. We were renting a nice house with eighty pine trees in the yard, but we were miserable. We had absolutely no idea what to do. All we knew is that something had to change.

A minister mentioned something that caught our attention, “God has a plan for your life. That plan is demonstrated in the Bible as the Promised Land to the children of Israel.” We started to read our Bible with this in mind. How do we know God’s plan for our lives?

Jim and I discussed, “What is truth? What really matters?” The Holy Spirit brought to our remembrance a verse of Scripture we had learned in Sunday school as children. Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6).

“If Jesus is the only truth and life, then why aren’t we following Him?” we said.

DOES GOD HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE - GUIDANCE

Together, we repented before God for not making Him first in our lives (even though we were going to church), and decided to find that Promised Land plan that God laid out for us before the very foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4).

We had heard the story of the escape from Egypt and the deliverance through Moses and the wilderness journey, but reading it for our personal guidance brought no comparison. We realized we were as much in bondage as Jacob’s offspring in Egypt. We searched the Scriptures to see how they got there. We were shocked to find Genesis 46:2-3, “I am God . . . Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there, I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again . . . .”

We were amazed that God told Jacob to go to Egypt where bondage was the plan so He could get them out of it, and then get the glory for doing so. We realized it was not a mistake for us to be where we were–in bondage–and that God was with us and hearing our groaning as much as He heard the Israelites (see Exod. 6:5).

We had felt the $10,000 debt we made for ourselves was something we had to deal with in our own strength–and the job, too; but, now, we knew God wanted to deliver us, His way, and that deliverance was His job.

Are we Willing to Follow the Shepherd’s Guidance

Guided by Lord My Shepherd

We both felt Jesus tugging at our hearts with these words, “Now are you willing to relinquish all and follow me?”

The Lord continued to show us that He had met His disciples before the time He asked them this question. It was as though, He was still walking along the seashore saying, “Come, follow me.”

Our answer could be nothing other than yes. It was no different than when some of Jesus’ disciples turned back from following him, “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the twelve.

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God'” (John 6:67-68).

It was time to act on our faith and to take a stand. Having God’s Word on it, I could confidently tell Jim, “I think you ought to resign. If so, I will never second-guess your decision.” Feeling he could always find work, he put in his notice.

We read all the book of Deuteronomy; then, reread it again. The day after the job notice was up, August 1, 1978, when we had been in Carthage eleven months, God quickened Deuteronomy 1:3 to us, “In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month,” after the children of Israel had been in the wilderness.

Verse 6 also popped out at us, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country . . . .” “How do we do that?” I asked Jim.

Jim found it first. We did not know the children of Israel had to cross two rivers. All that was in our minds was the Red Sea, with Moses (Charlton Heston) holding out his rod so the people could cross over on dry land. But, they had to cross the Jordan River, too! The book of Joshua brought more light to our path, confirming our way, to stand still and hear the words of the Lord.

“Sit still” is what we did, with the encouragement of two Godly women we could talk to. Other well-meaning friends said, “If you think you want to work for the Lord, why don’t you go to seminary?” We knew this could not be God’s plan because we were already in debt with school.

This only caused us to search more Scripture to discover that Jesus’ disciples did not need seminary to be used by Him. Even the apostle Paul, after meeting Jesus, did not consult any man, but went immediately into Arabia to seek the Lord and later returned to Damascus when he began his ministry (see Gal. 1:15-17).

Jim and I were flooded with peace as we camped at the river’s edge, listening to the words of the Lord; that is, until the three days turned into three months, and we came down to the last $3.00 to our name.

Red Azelais with overlay text of Receive Free Booklet Because God Is I am with sign up for FREE eCourse Bonus to God Book

You have just read one fifteen-minute segment of two chapters in the book GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? that gives details about how we are like sheep and need a Shepherd’s guidance. This second chapter detailed the 3 harbor lights to watch for as we seek God’s plan and guidance for our life. I think about these lights every day, because that’s how often I need to make a decision.

This printable of the 3 harbor lights will give you a hint of the secret to really knowing how to follow the Lord with confidence–if you’ve not read the whole chapter. To know more about the free eCourse, click the LEARN MORE  link below. We would love to have you join us. May God bless you in your quest.

Here is your MAKE IT PERSONAL – SHIP’S PILOT

FREE E COURSE - LEARN MORE

 

Get the Book(s)

3 harbor lights of guidance

M5D Guided Because God is Jehovah Rohi

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days, the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people. When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it. Joshua 3:1-4

Guided by Lord My ShepherdJoshua Must Be Guided by Jehovah Rohi

Joshua and the second generation of the children of Israel finally came to the time of crossing the Jordan River to possess the land God had given them. In order to do so, they still had a vital lesson to learn. As we have seen, their parent’s choice to follow their own ways resulted in their own death. Now that Moses was dead, Joshua’s challenge was to teach them a whole new way–how to follow the Lord and be guided in paths of righteousness (see Ps. 23:3). What was he going to do?

Joshua and the Israelites could be compared to the “cast sheep.” They were at a critical time where they were unable to survive without the help of their Shepherd. They desperately needed to be guided. They needed a miracle to get across the river at flood stage. If they had been able to do this in their own strength, the previous generation would have done it. Likewise, in our lifetime, we have many rivers to cross that require a God-sized miracle.

Only through experience, do we learn to hear the Shepherd’s voice more distinctly and to follow His will as He goes before us (see John 10:4). Three lights show the way: His Word, the Holy Spirit’s nudging in our heart which includes counsel of Godly Christian friends, and circumstances. These can be easily remembered as three harbor lights. For our purposes, the ship is our life, and the harbor lights are three specific guiding points we must be aware of for every decision we make. If we, as pilot of our own ship, disregard these lights our ship will crash.

Guided Lighthouse

Lighthouses, or harbor lights, are landmarks for sailors, serving as big street signs for the ocean, and all are different, depending upon what their harbor is like. The lighthouse purpose is to keep boats and ships from running ashore or crashing into rocks. Each one has its own distinct signature light, allowing the ship’s pilot to pinpoint where he is on the map by the particular signature lights.

We are the Pilot of Our Ship as it is Guided by Our Captain

Before we look at the harbor lights, we need to understand what it takes to be a maritime pilot, because that is who we are. He is “a person who is qualified to assist the master of a ship to navigate when entering or leaving a port. He guides the vessel through traffic, rocks, reefs, shoals and narrow channels to its destination.”19

“The first step to becoming a pilot is to first be a professional mariner with drive and determination. There is no direct path. There are no ‘pilot’ schools or any training system that takes a totally unfamiliar person off the street and turns them into a maritime pilot.”20 The only way to learn is by gaining knowledge through experience–having been placed in a situation of need to know. In Oregon, only individuals who have hands-on knowledge of currents, tides, soundings, bearings and distances of shoals, rocks, bars, points of landings, lights and fog signals are allowed to direct large vessels on certain waters of the state.21

The next requirement of a pilot is to trust in the captain (our master, Jehovah-Rohi) completely. Kathleen’s father had been a pilot. She was flooded with memories when she entered a ship. The captain welcomed her, and then turned his attention to the pilot. She said, “Their immediate trust in each other was evident. The captain is always in charge of his ship . . . . A trusting relationship is critical to a successful docking.”22

The final attributes of a good pilot are summarized by what Kathleen says of her father. “I learned much from his lifestyle: patience, a matching love of water, respect for weather, and listening skills. Dad was never in a hurry . . . the pilot’s work is never routine.”23

Likewise, following Jesus is never routine when we are willing to risk all we have to follow. A disciple of Jesus Christ must leave behind old familiar ways, the ruts going around the same old mountain, pulling up anchor and embarking into the unknown, uncharted waters. The only way to know which way to go is to listen to the master captain’s voice. He promises us, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isa. 30:21). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isa: 43:2).

We are Guided by three Harbor Lights

The value of pilots is realized when they judge an approach correctly, anticipate accurately and react effectively. One particular harbor has three lighthouses that guide to a safe docking in a narrow channel. The lining up of these three harbor lights, over time, reveals God’s will and our Shepherd’s guidance:

HARBOR LIGHT #1: THE WORD – 80%

The Lord spoke to Joshua. He initiated the conversation, as He always does. Joshua listened, as he always did:

Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. -Joshua 1: 7-8

God can do whatever He wants to do–by speaking as He did in the Old Testament, or sending an angel to give encouragement or instructions; however, the main way He speaks is to “cause our thoughts to become agreeable to His will” (Prov. 16:3 Amplified). Of course, this is when we have committed and trusted our works wholly to Him. His voice comes to our minds, as a still, small voice.

The problem lies in deciphering other voices. One is the loud voice of “self.” Another is the demanding, urgent voice of the Evil One. The only way to discern which voice we are hearing is by searching whether it contradicts Scripture, and waiting to see if the other lights line up, giving us freedom to act on the intuition or impression we think we have heard from God.

It has been said that God speaks from His Word to us in our everyday need for guidance at the rate of 80%, 10% by the counsel of the Holy Spirit and Godly counselors, and 10% through circumstances. Experience proves this true.

Many times though, problems of knowing God’s will lie in not knowing what the Bible says. The ideal would be to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but how many have? It is also not always wise to take a Scripture out of context, by pulling one out that speaks to our need.24 However, this is a way God speaks to us today. The Bible is “God’s effort to reveal Himself to humanity.”25 Jesus is alive, and He can get His Word and will to us however He desires, especially if we are seriously seeking and asking Him to speak to us. Even Billy Graham says he can open his Bible anywhere and God will show him something.

Marlene was Guided by The Word

The Lord spoke clearly to Marlene and guided her from the pages of her Bible. She was writing a book, and was halfway through. She kept procrastinating until she was discouraged, doubting her ability to write it. Satan taunted her, “And what makes you think you can find a publisher if you get it finished?”

One spring day, she sat down beside a stream, “God please speak to me,” she prayed. The wind blew the pages of her Bible to 2 Corinthians 8:10-11: “I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do . . . . Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equaled by your realistic action now.”26

What happened to Marlene is the quickening of the Word. Webster’s dictionary defines it as, “to cause to burn more intensely; to cause to be enlivened; to come to life.” When we are using the B-E-A-R Facts of Faith, B-elieving God will speak, E-xpecting Him to speak, A-sking in faith that He will, we will R-eceive His word to us. Remember, Jesus tells us, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63).

When it was time to cross the river, Joshua and all the Israelites rose early in the morning, and “set out from Shittim, and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over” (Josh. 1:1). What were they going to do? “Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God'” (Josh. 3:9).

Rising early with the Lord comes before getting to the river’s edge. Lodging there with Him comes before passing over. Removing ourselves from past endeavors has to come before arriving somewhere better. The only way to get there is by scheduling God’s Word as number one priority in our day; thus, our life.

After three days, Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Josh. 3:5). Consecrate means “to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony.”27 It is hearing the Word of the Lord that brings this devotion and commitment to obey–leaving all self interest to follow Him. With consecration brings a cleansing from the Word where our heart’s desire is to ask and, “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:24).

ENDNOTES
19. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/BMP/becoming_a_pilot.shtml (accessed April 18, 2006).
20. Ibid.
21. Ibid.
22. http://www.atlanticpilotage.com/main/content/newsarticle03.htm (accessed April 18, 2006).
23. Ibid.
24. Every Christian needs to learn to study and correctly handle the Word of Truth (see 2 Tim. 2:15). For the new student of the Bible, Halley’s Bible Handbook is a must. It was the first Bible help published (1973) and has been a best seller since. Dr. Halley’s goal was to help Christians to not only know about the Bible, but to get to know the God of the Bible. Anne Graham Lotz teaches one of the best ways to read, study, and apply a passage of Scripture in order to know what God is speaking to us personally. Her method is outlined in The Vision of His Glory workbook of the  seven-session video series of the Book of Revelation-only one of her many studies available.
25. Halley, Henry Hampton, Halley’s Bible Handbook, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000), p.11.
26. Marlene Bagnull, Write His Answer (ACW Press, Phoenix, AZ, 1999), p.120.
27. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary-Eleventh Edition, (Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Springfield, MA 2003), p. 265.

M5C Jacob to Joshua And More Sheep

Sheep Need a Shepherd Because:

They are Creatures of Habit

Today’s lesson brings us to Joshua’s story. We’ve already seen how Jacob, as a shepherd working with his father-in-law,  worked with Laban for twenty years before he moved on. In that regard, he was like sheep. If Laban had been easy to work for, Jacob could have become a creature of habit and stayed there his whole life, but that was not God’s plan.

Lord our Shepherd

Phillip Keller grew up in East Africa where he made his livelihood as a sheep owner and sheep rancher. In his classic book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, he describes the way of sheep, “If left to themselves they will follow the same trails until they become ruts; graze the same hills until they turn to desert wastes; pollute their own ground until it is corrupt with disease and parasites. Many of the world’s finest sheep ranges have been ruined beyond repair by over-grazing, poor management and indifferent or ignorant sheep owners.” 13

“Because of the behavior of sheep and their preference for certain favored spots, these well-worn areas become quickly infested with parasites of all kinds. In a short time a whole flock can thus become infected with worms, nematodes and scab. The final upshot is that both land and owner are ruined while the sheep become thin, wasted and sickly.”14 Therefore:

Sheep Must Be Kept On the Move

sheep on move

Sheep cannot be allowed to stay on the same ground too long. Keller says, “There must be a pre-determined plan of action, a deliberate, planned rotation from one grazing ground to another in line with right and proper principles of sound management . . . . No other single aspect of the ranch operations commanded more of my careful attention than this moving of the sheep. It literally dominated all my decisions . . . . The success I enjoyed in sheep ranching must be attributed to this care in managing my flock.”15

The moving of the sheep can be from every day to every week. Depending upon the lay of the land, some shepherds set up a base camp and fan out from it in wide circles in a clover leaf pattern, covering new pasture every day. That allows them to return to camp at night.16 Other shepherds may need to lead their flocks through valleys in order to get to the high country.

“The annual trek through the valley is the only way for the sheep to escape the barren, dry ground that has been parched by the summer sun or abused by overgrazing. The valley is the only way of escape from the relentless heat of the lowlands.”17 The valley is a place of danger and fear to the sheep. They are most vulnerable here to their predators, but the valley grows the richest, most nourishing grass beside clear water streams. It is the only way to those who choose to follow the Shepherd to the high country.

“The Lord is my shepherd . . . .” (Ps. 23:1). He is. He can do no less than to guide. It is who He is.

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3). Paths of righteousness are always on the move, “having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will . . .” (Eph. 1:11). This plan is his best plan for our lives that we have to choose to follow to the high country. Other paths are always available that take little effort to follow.

If we are following Jehovah-Rohi and not straying, we will be growing spiritually. “On the move” is mentally and spiritually, not necessarily physically-but many times, that too. He is the Good Shepherd. He leads only in good ways that lead to good outcomes even though it may not seem that way at the time. His ways bring glory to only Him (not us) in the final analysis.

It is in the valley that my Shepherd “leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps. 23: 2-4). Every threat becomes only a fearful shadow of the real thing, and the threat of death never becomes a reality before its time.

From Jacob to Moses to Joshua & Caleb

Joshua followed His Shepherd

Jacob’s descendants, living in the lush land of Goshen, did not understand that the valley is the only way to the high country. After exactly 430 years, over ten generations, they most likely lost sight of the big picture, and some probably did not even know of God’s promise to Jacob, that He guided them to Egypt and would guide them back home with  he leadership of Moses and Joshua.

Meanwhile, their journey meant bondage before getting back.
A new pharaoh grew fearful of the Israelites because, despite their bondage, they were growing in greater numbers than the Egyptians. He did not know about Joseph who was now deceased.

He ordered the slaughter of all baby boys. Moses’ mother hid him in a basket in the river Nile, saving his life when he was a baby. The daughter of Pharaoh found him and raised him as her own. When Moses learned he was an Israelite and ran from Egypt, after killing the Egyptian, he learned shepherding from his father-in-law in the backside of the desert.

After one oppressive pharaoh died and another took his place, the Israelites groaned in their slavery, crying for help. “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob” (Exod. 3:7). God saw their affliction and heard their misery.

Meanwhile, Moses saw the burning bush and turned aside to see the sight. God spoke to him, “I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey . . . .” (Exod. 3:8).

 “I see your future purposes and designs, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Caleb & You”

Joshua Jacob future purposes

In other words, God could have said to Moses, “I will do this through you, my shepherd. As their Great Shepherd, Jehovah-Rohi, I have had it all prearranged. I had a plan from the very beginning for your life and theirs. I see your future purposes and designs. I told Jacob to go with his sons to Egypt. If I’d allowed them to stay in Canaan, their descendants would have intermarried with the idolatrous people then in the land. I’ve had to have a pure nation, one with unity of purpose and one strong enough to take possession of the high country I am now bringing you to. And from this nation will be born The Deliverer, My Son.”

This is the background to the greatest deliverance in all history. It is also the background to the saddest mass suicide of all time–when the older generation of approximately six-hundred thousand men (not counting women and children)18 chose to die in the wilderness (see Exod. 12:36). They witnessed God open the Red Sea for them to walk over on dry land. Yet, they refused to believe God would help them take possession of His best plan for their lives.

They chose to go in circles, retracing their familiar steps around the same mountain for forty years, rather than reaching forth into the unknown. The Good Shepherd knew them, but they chose to not know Him. Only Joshua and Caleb knew their God when they came to the Jordan River’s edge, as they shepherded the younger generation across.

How did they get across? When they finally got to Jordan what did they do? Joshua records his words of faith, “Come near; listen to the words of the Lord your God . . . . Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will surely drive out from before you the Canaanites . . . .” (Josh. 3:9-10 Amplified).

They stopped. For three whole days, they prepared themselves for a holy purpose. They listened to God’s Word. When they came to the brink of the waters . . . they stood still. Surely Joshua reminded the people not to depend upon how they felt, but on God’s promise to bring them in. He reminded them how God continually led them in the wilderness: God’s presence was visibly with them in a cloud by day that shielded them from the hot sun and in a pillar of fire by night to show the way. Joshua demonstrated lessons in faith, and that they could depend upon the Lord to be with them now as He had been in the past-twenty-four hours a day.

And now, he would teach them how to follow the Lord, and that they could depend upon the Shepherd, Jehovah-Rohi, to guide them continually through fears of the unknown. He taught them to trust God to do His work through them to take possession of the Promised Land–His best plan for their lives–given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and now, to us.

Please go HERE: MAKE IT PERSONAL – JEHOVAH ROHI

ENDNOTE
18. This is the number who left Egypt. After 40 years, Bible commentaries estimate the total people to be about two million.

 

M5B Sheep of the Lord’s – Jehovah Rohi

Sheep Need a Shepherd Because:

They Are Defenseless

defenseless sheep

Sheep are unable to protect themselves. They have no claws, no horns or sharp teeth, and are usually weighted down with thick wool. They are easy prey, helpless and timid creatures, especially the little lambs.

A man was visiting a Scottish sheepherder’s ranch. His host met him at the railroad station, and on the long drive out to the ranch the visitor noticed the old shepherd was heavy of heart. The man said,

“You seem so downcast. What is wrong?” Tears welled up in the old shepherd’s eyes.

“Well, I lost sixty-five of my best lambs last night. Wolves got in.”

“And how many sheep did they kill besides?

The shepherd looked surprised. “Sheep? Don’t you know that a wolf will never take an old sheep so long as he can get a lamb?”4

This story confirms the thief is after our children, as Kim’s story revealed to us earlier. This story also reveals how much our Shepherd cares for us.

When possible, sheep are kept in a pen at night. A visitor to the Holy Land found a sheep pen. He said to the shepherd guide, “There must not be any wild animals around here at all because I notice that on your sheep pen there’s no gate.”

The shepherd replied, “That opening is my bedroom where I sleep at night.”5

Jesus says, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved . . . I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:9, 11). Jesus further explains that when the wolf attacks, a hired hand will run away because he cares nothing for the sheep. The reason: he does not own them.

When Jesus laid down His life for the sheep, He did it for all mankind. He owns all the sheep of his pasture. Jesus is the only eternal gate to heaven. He was the only legal sacrifice for sin! Those who never choose to accept what Jesus did for them are stolen from Him by the evil wolf, or false prophets.

Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). He is the only one who cares enough to be with us when we, in our defenselessness, need Him.

Sheep Need a Shepherd Because They Follow

sheep followA pastor and his wife went to Israel. They were told the story of two Bedouin shepherds who crossed paths, each with their own flock of sheep. Hundreds of unbranded sheep collided together. It seemed hopeless to get them separated. After much confusion, each shepherd went a distance down the road in two separate directions, turned and called his sheep. Instantly, they polarized as each headed toward the voice of its shepherd. They knew that voice.6 “They will never follow a stranger; In fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice” (John 10:5).

Sheep follow a good shepherd; they cannot be driven. Ezekiel 34 is a whole chapter in the Bible dedicated to what God thinks about shepherds who use sheep for food rather than feeding the sheep. In the Old Testament, God says he will hold them accountable and will remove them from tending the flock and He will look after them himself (see Ezek. 34:10-11). In the New Testament, Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10: 27).

Sheep follow the Good Shepherd because He knows them. A shepherdess on television was challenged to name each one of her sheep. With the clock ticking, “She had to think hard sometimes, and yet she recognized each sheep and named its name: Daisy, Sally, etc.

To the viewer all the sheep seemed identical with no obvious identifying characteristics. Their faces were perhaps different in very slight ways that only the shepherd had come to know. Or maybe it was their behavior. Anyway, she named each of them as individuals.”7 “I know them,” says the Good Shepherd.

Sheep Stray

sheep over ledgeVegetation on the Highlands of Scotland can be pretty scarce. Yet, on a little cliff, about ten or twelve feet below, one can find a grassy ledge–grass that has not yet been eaten. The smell of that lush grass may lure a sheep to jump, landing on all fours. Once the sheep has indulged himself, his bleating can be heard as he tries unsuccessfully to return to higher ground.

The shepherd does not rush right over to rescue the sheep. He lets it stay down there. He has to wait until all the grass is eaten and the sheep grows thirsty and weak from hunger, until it cannot stand on its own. He knows if he lowers himself over the ledge to get it before then, the sheep will jump to its death.8 The shepherd knows the sheep will run from a stranger, and that the sheep does not yet know him. It if had, it would not have wandered so far.

Unfortunately, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). We make hasty decisions without consulting our Shepherd guide and then get on the wrong path, even dangerous cliffs and ledges. We get distracted by the notion the grass is greener on the other side, looking to our own way, rather than seeking the Shepherd’s way.

“I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays” (Ezek. 34:16). David records the same message in his twenty-third Psalm, “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (vs. 2). There are times when He has to make us lie down in order to get our attention, so He can rescue us and restore our souls.

shepherd carrying lambKay Arthur tells a story in her book, The Peace & Power of Knowing God’s Name, of a young man in Mexico listening to her teach about Jehovah-Rohi. He knew the Lord, but had trouble wandering, getting distracted by one thing or another, walking away from the Lord.

Kay explained how a shepherd could be forced to break the leg of a lamb that would not learn his lesson not to stray. Thus, the shepherd bound up the injury, and carried the lamb in his arms, talking to it and singing to it, until the lamb knew him.

The young man hobbled into class a couple days later with a broken leg and a grin on his face. When Kay asked him what happened he said, “It was the shepherd. He broke my leg.”9 The young man probably broke his leg when performing a reckless stunt of his own choosing. Nevertheless, he perceived his wound as a loving, caring act by the Good Shepherd, because of the Word he had heard, knowing it was for his own good.

We must understand the big picture. We are in a training program, to not stray, to learn to follow Jesus on this earth where satan preys like a wolf on those who choose not to follow. For big and little lambs, the “bread of adversity” (see Isa. 30:20) is the only thing that usually brings the desired result. It is during these times that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isa. 40:11). And we are forced to “Be still, and know that [He] is God” (Ps. 46:10 emphasis added). Then, hopefully we will learn to never stray again.

Sheep are Totally Dependent upon the Shepherd

cast sheepThere are times in a sheep’s life when it can become “cast.” Webster defines cast as “something that results as a result of chance.”10

“Often when a sheep is heavy with lamb and heavy with wool, it will lie down on uneven ground and then roll over on its back into a shallow recess. When it does, it’s like a beetle, unable to rise or roll over by itself. On its back, the gases will gather, the limbs will stiffen and it won’t be long before it will die.”11 If the shepherd does not find the sheep at just the right moment, to rub it’s legs and body back to life, the sheep will die.

The shepherd David writes, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” (Ps. 42:11 KJV). Cast is translated “to despair.” “Eating is difficult. Sleep is impossible. Unrestrained anger is followed by consuming guilt. Confusion prevails. God is nowhere. Life is over. Unless someone intervenes, we will attempt to turn that feeling into reality.”12 That Someone who intervenes is Jesus who leaves the ninety-nine to rescue the one who needs Him at that point in time (see Matt. 18: 12-14).

When we, like a cast sheep, have experienced the Shepherd’s touch, we can say with the apostle Paul, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

ENDNOTES
4. Donald J. Getty’s sermon notes, McDonald Road Seventh-Day Adventist Church, McDonald, TN, http://mcdonald.southern.edu/sermons/99/0807.htm (accessed January 6, 2006).
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Lilyofthevalley, http://www.iidb.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-128893.html (accessed February 6, 2005).
8. Getty’s sermon notes (accessed January 6, 2006).
9. Kay Arthur, The Peace & Power of Knowing God’s Name, (Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, 2002) p. 116.
10. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary-Eleventh Edition, (Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Springfield, MA 2003), p.192.
11. Baker, Way of Shepherd, “He Restores My Soul.” 12. Ibid.
13. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, (Harper-Collins Publishers, New York, 1970) p. 61.
14. Ibid., p. 62.
15. Ibid., p. 63-64.
16. Ibid., p. 65.
17. Baker, Way of Shepherd, “Even Though I Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death . . .”

 

M5A Lord Our Shepherd – Jehovah Rohi

Then he [Jacob] blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm–may he bless these boys.” -Genesis 48:15

Lord our ShepherdJacob was a shepherd

Abraham was a shepherd. His son Isaac was a shepherd. Isaac’s son Jacob was a shepherd. In this passage, Jacob’s dying words to his grandsons referred to the Angel of the Lord, who protected him, as his shepherd. Yet, he and his descendants wound up in Egypt for 400 years (see Chapter 4).

Why would a shepherd lead his followers into bondage? How could this be God’s will? To answer these questions, we will look at why Jacob needed guidance from his Shepherd, then at sheep to see why we, like sheep, still need a shepherd today, who leads in and out of bondage.

Jacob needed guidance after he was forced to leave home to escape his brother’s wrath. Isaac favored Jacob’s twin brother Esau, while their mother Rebekah favored Jacob. This favoritism caused division in the family. Jacob deceived Esau into selling his birthright, and then, with Rebekah’s help, deceived his father into giving him the blessing belonging to firstborn Esau.

Jacob Encounters God at the Lowest Point in His Life

When Esau found out and threatened Jacob’s life, Isaac and Rebekah both commanded Jacob not to marry the local Canaanite women as Esau had done, but to flee to Haran to the house of his Uncle Laban, Rebekah’s brother.

Shepherd Jacob

At a certain place on his trip, Jacob slept with a rock for his pillow. He dreamed of a stairway from earth to heaven and angels ascending and descending upon it. At the top he saw the Lord, who spoke to him:
“I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:13-15

The Lord reassured Jacob of his guidance and confirmed to him the same blessings He gave to Abraham and Isaac. Plus, he promised to someday lead him back home.

Jacob’s first order of business was to find a Godly wife. When he arrived in Haran, the first person he met was his wife-to-be.

“We’re from Haran,” some local shepherds told Jacob.

“Do you know Laban? He’s my uncle?”

“Yes, we know him, and here comes Rachel, his daughter.”

Rachel, a shepherdess, becomes Jacob’s wife with Leah

When Rachel, a shepherdess, brought her sheep for water, Jacob kissed her and wept out loud. He told Rachel his story, and she ran to tell her father. Laban accepted Jacob as his own flesh and blood.
Jacob excelled as a shepherd as he worked seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage. On the wedding night, Laban switched the older sister Leah for Rachel, so Jacob worked another seven years to pay for Rachel. However, Laban did allow Jacob to take Rachel in marriage at the beginning of those seven years.

Jacob becomes father of twelve  sons who were shepherds

Between Leah and her maid and Rachel and her maid, Jacob became the father of twelve sons and one daughter. Rachel was the mother of the two youngest-Joseph and Benjamin. After Joseph was born, Jacob knew it was time to take his large family and return home.

Laban did not want to let them go. He knew God was blessing him because of Jacob. He tried to outwit Jacob from increasing his flocks, which he hoped would keep him from leaving. Instead, the Lord guided Jacob with wisdom so that his flocks prospered greater in strength and number than Laban’s livestock.

When Laban’s attitude changed toward Jacob, the Lord told him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

Jacob was more than ready to leave. After the twenty years Jacob worked for wages, Laban had changed them ten times, and unless God had been with Jacob, he would have been empty-handed now. Fearful that Laban would steal his daughters and grandchildren, Jacob took his family and animals and escaped at night.

Laban pursued Jacob and his family, but the Lord, in a dream, warned him not to say anything good or bad to Jacob. The two men made a covenant and set up a pillar and a heap of stones to signify that neither would cross over to do harm to the other. Laban kissed his daughters and grandchildren and said his goodbyes.

Jacob returned home to Isaac and a surprisingly tearful reunion with his brother Esau. Later, Isaac died at 180 years of age, and Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin.

Joseph, number eleven son, is sold into slavery by his brothers

However . . . Jacob favored Rachel’s sons. Out of his brother’s jealousy, seventeen-year-old Joseph was sold into slavery. Despite being a slave, at the age of thirty, Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. This was in fulfillment of a dream God had given him that placed him in a position to be the deliverer of his people. He organized the storage of grain for seven years and distributed it for the next seven years of famine. God prepared him to do this through another dream.

Jacob Knew God as His Shepherd Only at the End of His Life

Shepherd carries his son

Because of the famine, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt for grain. They had to go through Joseph to buy food, but they did not recognize him; however, Joseph knew them and eventually revealed himself. After a very emotional reunion with his brothers, Joseph called for his father and brothers to come to Egypt, with all the families, sheep and other livestock.

Convinced Joseph was still alive and wanted to see him, Jacob agreed to go to Egypt. But he must have been apprehensive.

“Jacob, Jacob,” God spoke to Jacob in a vision at night.

“‘Here I am,’ he replied.

“‘I am God, the God of your father,’ he said, ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes'” (Gen. 46:2-4).

Joseph’s whole family found favor with the Pharaoh and, because they were shepherds, he gave them the best of the land in Goshen where they could feed their flocks.

Jacob’s dying words (see Gen. 48:15) of blessing to Joseph’s sons reveal that Jehovah-Rohi had been his shepherd, guiding him and delivering him from all harm. Jacob prophesied to his son Judah that from his line would come the Lion of Judah-Jesus Christ (see Rev. 5:5). Before he died, Jacob knew God was birthing a nation to whom the Messiah-the true spiritual Deliverer- would be born.

Jacob knew God fully as his Shepherd only after his reunion with Joseph, when his life was almost at its end. Therefore, it is imperative we learn about sheep and shepherding–that we, like sheep, are guided by our Shepherd. Only then will we gain the full comforting impact of Jehovah-Rohi’s guiding influence in our life’s journey, hopefully, long before our own life on this earth is ended.

REASONS SHEEP NEED A SHEPHERD

Sheep Need a Shepherd Because They Are Not Very Smart

Lord Shepherd of sheep

Sheep can eat the wrong food (poisonous plants), and drink bad water. “Their flock mentality makes herding easy at times, and at other times, nearly impossible. When one restless sheep moves, the whole flock can move. When one old ewe sinks to the ground to chew her cud, the others follow.”10 On July 7, 2005, 450 sheep in Turkey jumped to their death because one sheep leapt over a cliff. The Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 other sheep followed. Those who jumped last were saved as the pile rose higher and higher and the fall grew more cushioned. The estimated loss to the shepherds who owned the sheep was $100,000.2

Like sheep, we require a shepherd. “You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezek. 34:31). God himself tells us that as people we are mere sheep. How can we, in comparison to Almighty God ever think we do not need a shepherd every minute of every day? We are His property, and very valuable to Him. He tells us, “. . . I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Sheep  Need a Shepherd Because They Require 24-Hour Supervision

shepherd watching sheep

The shepherd can have no other vocation. He is responsible for his flock’s total welfare–their food, water, health, and safety. “Sleeping with one eye open and both ears open, he listens for the bleats, the bells, and the dogs that would warn of any danger or restlessness among his flock”3

One eight-year old boy (a precious lamb) did not know these words that describe God: omnipresent (present in all places at all times), omniscient (knowing all things), or omnipotent (having unlimited power or authority). But speaking of our Lord (our Shepherd), he explained them beautifully as he wrote:

His dad (God) appreciated everything he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important. You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time. You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God.

ENDNOTES
1. Don Baker, The Way of the Shepherd, (Multnomah Press, Portland, Oregon, 1987) “The Lord Is My Shepherd.”
2. “450 Sheep Jump to Deaths in Turkey,” www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-07/09/ content_458724.htm, (accessed February 6, 2006).
3. Baker, The Way of the Shepherd, “The Lord Is My Shepherd.”