The role of a shepherd
The shepherd’s job in the Old Testament was to protect his flock and guide them to good pastures with plenty of food and water. A shepherd typically carried a few items with him to aid him in caring for the sheep. First, he would have a rod. The rod was a sturdy stick with a knob at one end. Sometimes the knob even had nails in it to make it a better weapon. The shepherd also carried a long staff. For further protection, shepherds often carried a sling, comprised of a pouch on a string. We are reminded of this in the account of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:33-35 & 49.
What are sheep afraid of?
Sheep are skittish animals and “spook” very easily. But because they are familiar with the shepherd’s voice, if frightened they will calm down and follow him and nobody but him. Several flocks can mix together, and when the flocks’ true shepherd speaks, they separate and follow him. If a thief comes, the sheep will not follow him because they do not know his voice.
Jesus is the True Shepherd to the sheep (true believers) who are His. We know Him, we recognize His voice, and we follow only Him (John 10:27–28). Just as shepherds guarded their sheep and cared for them day and night, so likewise Jesus cares for us. Even when life gets difficult, Jesus protects us, guides us, and never leaves us. We can trust that He is the perfect, true and Good Shepherd.
As sheep (true believers) we are to trust in His Word
The word translated “trust” in the Bible means “a bold, confident, sure security or to make secure.”
We all trust in something. Even the most skeptical among us exercises complete trust in many things. When we stand up, we trust that our legs will hold us. When we sit down, we trust the chair to support us. We trust that, when we inhale, the right amount of oxygen will be present to sustain us. We choose to trust; otherwise, we would live in a constant state of fear and uncertainty.
Proverbs 22:17-19 NLT – “Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips. I am teaching you today—yes, you—so you will trust in the Lord.”
These words recorded in the book of Proverbs will cause our trust to be in the Lord if we receive the instruction and apply our hearts unto it.
Psalm 37:3-5 NLT – “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”
When we trust in the Lord and do what is right, we have this promise that we will dwell in the land and be fed. The land spoken of in this scripture was the Jews’ Promised Land. So, for us, we will dwell in the fulfillment of God’s promises to us and receive His provision. We will not only occupy the place He has for us, but we will do it with abundance (John 10:10).
Isaiah 12:2 NLT – “See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”
Trusting in the Lord removes fear. If we fear, we are not yet perfected in love (1 John 4:18). What do we gain by not following God’s word? Nothing! Fear comes when we do not trust God.
Related: Trust in God – Don’t be Afraid
We are victorious when we trust in God’s Word
One of the benefits of trusting God is that the Lord will fight the battles of your life. You won’t have to worry about fighting every battle on your own because the battle belongs to the Lord as it says in 2 Chronicles 20:15. This was the point King Jehoshaphat was making in his prayer: “God, this is Your problem.” Taking the problem out of our hands and putting it in the Lord’s hands is a big faith builder.
Every day, we face various spiritual battles and at times, it may be overwhelming to try to fight. But when you trust the Lord, you will not have to worry about fighting them because the Lord has never lost a battle, and He will fight on your behalf.
The Good Shepherd directs our path
Psalm 37:23 tells us that the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord. If we are not trusting Jesus to lead and direct our paths in life, we can be led astray by the enemy, other people, and the things of this world.
Trusting God will give you unshakeable confidence, that no matter what happens in this life whether good or bad, we will always have Him with us as our refuge and strength (Psalm 62:7-8).
This unshakable confidence in Jesus is because deep down in your heart you know that, unlike humans, God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? He fulfills His promises (Numbers 23:19) .
Trusting the Good Shepherd causes your faith to increase
If you choose to trust God rather than yourself, your faith will increase in the Lord as you witness His faithfulness and goodness in your life. Most Christians who have weak faith are so because they have not fully trusted the Lord with all their heart. You cannot have faith in something or someone you don’t even trust. So, if you want your faith to increase, trust God with all your heart without any reservations or what ifs.
Psalm 9:10 – “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
The testing of your trust produces perseverance
The amount of time that it takes for a promise to happen can test your trust. Faith has a companion, it is patience. Patience is a spiritual force and one of the fruits of the spirit. Bible patience that accompanies faith is not waiting to see what might happen. Bible faith already knows what is going to happen.
James 1:2-4 Complete Jewish Bible – “Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. But let perseverance do its complete work; so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.”
When your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. How do you get from needing everything to needing nothing? With faith and patience. The word “patience” does not mean “passive tolerance,” but “active perseverance.” According to many scholars, the idea is that someone remains consistent through opposition or continues despite the difficulty. Like the account with the woman with the issue of blood.
Mark 5:25-28 – “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
In this account the woman had the same problem for 12 years. She had suffered, and no one was able to help her. Surely, she was attacked with hopelessness and despair. When she thought about going to Jesus, she must have heard, “What’s the use?” But she imagined in her heart after hearing about Jesus and the miracles that He had done, that if I could but touch his garment, I too could be healed. She had been patient all this time and nothing, but she had trust in the Good Shepherd. The testing of her trust produced perseverance.
Going through trials works your patience muscles
If you are walking by sight for something and it does not happen immediately and you’re moved by that, it would make you sad, or depressed. You are not trusting in the good shepherd and what He said that He would do. Going through trials does not give you patience, it works your patience muscles.
When we are attacked in our bodies with some type of sickness or disease, or other trials we must go to the word of God and renew our minds and fill our hearts with the seed of the word. We must think like God thinks, and we do this by reading the word. We must say what God says, and this is done by knowing what His word says. We must have our minds focused on the Lord to the degree that we will walk by faith even if we cannot see the end result. (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Patience patience patience
When we look at the word patience in the New Testament, it means to bear long, suffer long, and long suffering. Or we could say, to endure. Endurance means that everything does not happen right away.
Have you ever heard someone say, “well I have tried that faith stuff, and nothing happened”, or,
“I tried that confession stuff and things stayed the same”?
Well trying is different from trusting. Trying means your experimenting. Or that you are testing it out. You have not made up your mind yet on whether you believe it with your whole heart or not.
It is not enough to just say that we believe God. We must believe God until. Until what you may ask? Until you see the promised granted! When you are standing on His word, His word is never going to change. So, we should not change or turn away from the word/promise that He spoke to us.
We need to stand, and having done all to stand, keep on standing. The flesh is so impatient. If everything happened immediately, we would not need any patience. The passage of time is what separates those that are really trusting in the good shepherd from those who are not.
A promise granted through faith and patience
When we look at the account in Romans 4:16–17, God gave Abraham a word originally when he was 75 years old, and it happened much later in his life. (Genesis 17:15-21) We have the same kind of faith as Abraham. Just because something seems dead, does not mean that it is dead to God. The word tells us that Jesus quickens (restores to life) the dead. Jesus raised three people from the dead: the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’s daughter (Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55), and Lazarus (John 11).
We must not let time cause us to doubt Him. Time tries our trust, but faith passes the test because patience will lock arms with faith and say we are not just believing; we’re believing until the promise is granted. How did Abraham get the promise that was first given to him at age 75? He grew strong in faith until he was fully persuaded. (Romans 4:18-20) Until we realize that God is our complete source, and His Word is our provision for every need, we will not be fully persuaded.
God has seen you through to this day. Will He suddenly abandon you? Certainly not! God is faithful at every stage, at every age, at every season of your life. I have made up my mind that no matter what I see, no matter what I feel, no matter what men or women may say against me or about me I put my hope and trust in the faithful true GOOD Shepherd that does the impossible! JESUS!!!
Trusting the Good Shepherd: Recap
- We can trust that Jesus is the perfect, true and Good Shepherd.
- Trusting in Jesus removes fear.
- Faith increases when we put our complete trust in Jesus.
- The testing of your trust produces perseverance.
- Until we realize that God is our complete source, and His Word is our provision for every need, we won’t be fully persuaded.