Have you ever been around sheep? I’ve seen them in pettings zoos, but that sums up my experience around them. They are soft and seem to seek attention, but they don’t appear to be very intelligent. Those who raise and care for sheep are called shepherds.
I did a little research and learned there are several things a shepherd must do to raise healthy sheep. The first job of a shepherd is to provide a sustainable water supply so the sheep do not become dehydrated and get sick [John 4:14]. Secondly, they need to feed their sheep at least once a day; however, twice a day is preferred for optimal health [Mark 1:35; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24]. A good shepherd also provides work and activity for the sheep to exercise them and keep them healthy and strong [Luke 2:49; Matthew 10:8; and Luke 9:2]. He also provides shelter and protection for the sheep [Psalm 61:3; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 62:7; and Psalm 91:2]. A shepherd will lay down his very life if necessary to protect his sheep [John 10:11, 18].
Sheep have never been accused of being very bright. They’ve been known to go astray [Isaiah 53:6]. Fortunately, a good shepherd will go searching for a lost sheep until he finds it and brings it back into the flock [Matthew 18:12-13].
In Biblical times, when shepherds were herding sheep from one location to another, they would put them in a common pen at night. When it was time for them to move the next day, the shepherd would open the gate to the pen and begin calling out to his sheep. Those who recognized the shepherd’s voice would begin moving towards him as he directed; however, the other sheep would back away from him to the back part of the pen. The shepherd’s voice would be able to coax his sheep to do anything.
In John 10:27, Jesus says “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He does everything listed above to take care of His sheep. If you are lacking provision in any of the ways listed, it isn’t because Jesus hasn’t provided. He is waiting for us to respond to His voice. Whose voice are you listening to? Whose voice are you following today?