“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work” (Psalm 95:6-9)
One of the pictures given of God’s care for us throughout the Scriptures is that of a shepherd who cares for his sheep. David said, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Jesus Himself said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own” (John 10:14). Once again, in Psalm 95 we have this picture of God’s guidance of His people as that of a shepherd guiding his flock of sheep.
Psalm 95 also mentions the attributes of why God is qualified to be our Shepherd: “For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:3-5). God made the entire earth. He knows everything about it. He knows where the best feeding places for his sheep are and where the abundant watering holes are. The Lord is aware of the safest places for his sheep to abide and He knows the areas where dangers may lurk. When their enemies come to attack, He faithfully defends his sheep and will not abandon them.
Because of this, as his sheep our response should be one of great praise for God as our Shepherd: “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1-2). As the opening verses above describe, we should want to bow down before Him and rejoice because we are blessed that we are the “people of His pasture” and the “sheep of His hand”!
However, is this how we respond to God’s shepherding of us? Unfortunately, God’s people do not always respond with rejoicing to the Good Shepherd’s care. Sadly, they often respond with rebellion as did the nation of Israel. So, we are warned, “Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work” (Psalm 95:7-9). As a result, as a Good Shepherd, God had to respond in love by disciplining the sheep under His care, instead of blessing them: “For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.' So, I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest'" (Psalm 95:10-11).
How will I respond to the Good Shepherd’s care of me? Will I respond rejoicing that God is my Shepherd and eagerly submit to His direction knowing and trusting in His care as my Creator? Or, will I respond in rebellion fighting against His leadership and guidance in my life because I insist on trying to have my own way? Today, I will strive to submit to the Good Shepherd as He guides and directs me to the pastures of plenty while protecting me from the wolves that would try to devour me. I rejoice that not only does He protect my life, but He has demonstrated His devotion to me by laying down His life for me. Praise God that I am a sheep of His hand and that I dwell among the people of His pasture!
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).