Prepare the Way: December 4, 2020

Prepare the Way!

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.”-Isaiah 40:11

When I was a little girl, I stayed with my grandma Mary and my grandpa Daddy Chuck in their third-floor walk-up apartment in Chicago for two weeks every summer. Across the alley was a huge Baptist Church where I attended Vacation Bible School for a week. Do you remember the floppy felt biblical figures that were stuck to a felt scenery storyboard? Well, one of the stories was Jesus surrounded by a flock of sheep. I believed that picture and story literally well into my adulthood, no metaphor, just a guy in a long white gown, curly long brown hair holding a stick with sheep all around him, my mind at seven. Although I knew zip about sheep, I could see that Jesus was tender and loving to the animals and even carried a lamb gently in his arms and gazed lovingly into its eyes.

As I was reading numerous commentaries online to prepare and write this devotional, I discovered that there were other shepherds in the bible that I had forgotten or didn’t realize that they were shepherds.

  • One was Abel, the shepherd slain. “Abel was a type of Savior, in that being a shepherd, he sanctified his work to the glory of God, and offers a sacrifice of blood upon the altar of the Lord.”
  • Another was Jacob, the toiling shepherd who left and returned safely back to the Promised Land with his family and flock. Joseph was a type of Jesus reigning in Egypt for the good of his people. He had interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams as approaching famines and opened the storage areas for the people to avoid starvation.
  • Moses, “when he kept sheep, kept them in the wilderness, far away from all the other flocks, and when he became a shepherd over God’s people, his business was not to preserve them in Egypt, but to conduct them out of it.”
  • Zechariah and Jeremiah bemoaned the idle shepherds that would scatter God’s sheep and slaughter the little flock, “and God himself identified the rebellious and apostate nation of Israel as ‘sheep without a shepherd’.
  • God also calls David the Good Shepherd of Israel and promises that the coming Savior would one day arise to shepherd His little flock and in the majesty of Almighty God.
  • Quoting C.H. Spurgeon, “Let us hear the shepherd’s voice. If you be the lambs, hear the shepherd’s voice which says, “Follow me”, you that are not lambs, Hear his voice”. Those of us who are His sheep, let us hear the shepherds.

    Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word and the truth it contains. May we read, mark, learn and inwardly digest all that You would teach us and that we grow in grace and knowledge of You so that we may not be ashamed when we stand before Your Throne, in Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
    -Mary Ann Taylor