“. . . but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:25
Jesus is the Shepherd of our soul. This is one of the oldest descriptions of God. It’s not an abstraction, or a religious bit part He sometimes plays. It’s the core of His identity. Knowing Him as the Shepherd of our soul profoundly affects our perception of reality. The prophets and poets knew Him as the Shepherd of souls.
The most familiar was David, who knew, “ the Lord is my shepherd.” Isaiah has it, “He will feed the flock like a shepherd.” Ezekiel hears God’s promise of the great king He was going to send Israel, “He shall feed them and be their shepherd.” All these words spoken by these who followed Him, were as vivid in Peter’s memory as when they were first spoken, and far better understood when Jesus took the title for Himself to describe His commitment to others, “the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” The word shepherd tells us of His ways of ceaseless vigilance and self-sacrificing love for His flock.
HE GUIDES: The ministry of our Shepherd’s care is to lead our soul in the path of righteousness, showing us the ways to walk where He leads. It’s Him directing our will with the gentleness of His love. As we learn to walk in His ways of wisdom, the loud voice of self is silenced so His voice may be more clearly heard. He says, “come follow me” and His sheep walk, not in darkness, but in light.
HE GUARDS: Typically in Judea where sheep grazed, there was no protection, there were delusive paths where wild beasts roamed looking for prey. The shepherd stands watch, leaning on his staff looking over his sheep, every one of them on his heart. At the first sign of attack, he would spring into action to drag them from the attacker’s mouth. If we keep within range of His voice, then sin will never have its way. As He guards, we are to press close to His protecting presence.
HE GIVES: He does not lead sheep to starve. Even in the most unpromising situations, He will sustain our soul. He, Himself, is the pasture, as well as the Shepherd of the soul, and ever gives Himself to us who are in need of a changeless and perfect love.
For He is the Good Shepherd.
For a moment, wait in silence for the Shepherd of your soul.