10 Benefits from God’s “Good Shepherd” Heart

A detailed list of God’s care for you is shown through His illustration of Himself as a Shepherd.

Many articles have been written about baby boomers and their pets. There is no argument about the deep extent of their love, affection, and attachment to their animals. They vacation with them, let them sleep on the bed,  involve them in most all aspects of their lives. Their pets are as much a focal point of their lives as other humans. Studies have been done which show that many people are closer to their pets than to humans due to the unconditional love they receive from their pets. Even Scripture says that a righteous person cares for the needs of his animal (Pr. 12:10). Most pet owners go far beyond the level of meeting their pets’ needs and, just as with a child, take great delight in giving them unnecessary things which they think will bring them greater joy. It reminds me of the passage in which God says, “If you, though you are evil in comparison to Me, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will I give good things to those who ask Me? (Mt.7:11)” This brings us to the obvious question, won’t God take better care of us than a responsible pet owner does for his pet, even giving us things we don’t need just because He knows it will bring joy to our hearts?

Though God’s most common illustration of His relationship to us is as a father, several good points are brought out in Scripture from His comparison of Himself to a good shepherd who loves and cares for his animals.

Here is a list of your benefits from God’s “Good Shepherd” heart:

God sees value in you as the individual that you are!

Jesus said, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” This is part of a story Jesus told of a shepherd who owned 100 sheep searching for 1 that was lost until it was found; He used it to illustrate God’s interest and value in an individual person.

God knows we cannot fully protect and care for ourselves, so He responds in compassion to our needs.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Mt. 9:36)
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (Mk. 6:34) Sheep are helpless to protect themselves or have food and shelter without their shepherd. Similarly, Jesus revealed God’s heart and responded to people’s needs by teaching them about what would heal their lives.

God gives you the benefit of His knowledge.

When the shepherd has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (Jn.10:4) Jesus used this illustration to describe His leading of us, like a shepherd does his sheep, so that we will be where we need to be for our needs to be met. Sheep only know the direction for their lives by following the voice of their shepherd.

God knows you personally-knows you by name.

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (Jn.10:3) Notice in this description of Himself as a shepherd, Jesus mentions that He knows each person “by name.”

God gives you the highest form of love, sacrificial love, a love at the expense of His own well-being.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd risks and even gives his own life for the sake of the sheep.” (Jn.10:11) He, like a good shepherd, is willing to suffer to provide for our well-being.

God’s love for you makes Him protective of you.

The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (Jn.10:12) Again, like a shepherd willing to protect the sheep at all cost, God’s love makes Him protective of you.

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Not only is God accessible to you, but He is able to be known by you.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (Jn.10:14)

God watches over your spiritual progress.

For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet. 2:25)

God’s shepherd heart causes Him to take an interest in and respond with good to every aspect of your life.

Ps. 23:1 The Lord takes care of me as his sheep; I will not be without any good thing. (The 23rd Psalm is known to most people. I used the Basic English translation here since it provided more clarity.)

God’s desire is that you are with Him every day, forever, completely happy and with every possible need met.

They are before the throne of God, they serve Him day and night in His temple. He who sits on the throne will shelter them in His dwelling. They will never be hungry or thirsty anymore; they will never again be troubled by the burning heat of the sun. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne [a reference to Jesus] shepherds them, and leads them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev. 7:15-17) This quote is from the last of the 66 books in Scripture. It is part of a description of heaven and eternity.

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