One of the most precious truths that become ours when we become a Christian is that we belong to Him. We become one of His sheep and He becomes our Shepherd. Of course, we become His child in reality but the Lord uses the picture of the Shepherd and the sheep to show how much He cares for us. We all long to belong to someone and when we come to Him then we belong to the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
Before we become a sheep we first become a lamb for a lamb is a baby sheep. Being the Good Shepherd, He cares tenderly for the lambs and before they learn to walk He carries them just as a mother tenderly carries her newborn babies close to her.
Isaiah 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
The Shepherd carries the newborn Christian close to Him until they become strong enough to learn to walk and then as a good parent, He teaches them how to walk. Just as a toddler must first learn to step out in faith, so too, the Christian learns to step out in faith. When a toddler falls, the parent comforts and encourages the young child to continue until they can walk on their own. So too, the Shepherd tends for the lambs until they grow and become sheep. As sheep they are still dependent on the Shepherd but it is in a healthy developmental way.
Psalm 23:1-3 The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Once the lamb has grown and is a sheep then the Lord guides them. They are not needy for He supplies what they need. That is the meaning of the sheep not being in want. He will make them, at times when it is needful, to lie down in green pastures so that they can be fed with green, nourishing grass. Notice, He does not make them lie down in the desert or on the weeds. No, He is a Good Shepherd and cares for the sheep. Also, the sheep need the still waters to be refreshed and so He leads them beside quiet waters so that their souls may be restored. Sometimes we don’t like the slower times in our lives but it is for our good. We need the down times so that we can be strong and refreshed for the busy times.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
He will be with you always. He says that He will never leave you or forsake you. The Shepherd is always with you. Do not be afraid even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Hebrews 13:5 …for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
In His prayer for His disciples before He went to the cross Jesus prayed that they would be protected from evil. You do not need to fear evil.
John 17:15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
No one can take you from Him or pluck you out of His hand. You belong to Him. You are secure in Him forever.
John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
When you belong to the Lord then He wants you to “be longing” for Him. He is good and He longs to show His love to you.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.