THE MIGHTY SHEPHERD December 6, 2022
Tuesday, December 6th
Advent Devotional #10 written by Pastor Shawn Thornton
THE MIGHTY SHEPHERD
Bethlehem may have been “small among the clans of Judah” (Micah 5:2), but Bethlehem was the little village of Israel’s national hero David. If Bethlehem would have had a mascot, it would have been a sheep or, better yet, a shepherd. From King David to the prophets Isaiah and Micah, to the Gospel of Matthew, to the writer of the Book of Hebrews, a picture emerges of the Child of the Promise, Jesus, being our Great Shepherd. So fitting that our Mighty Shepherd would arrive in Bethlehem!
At this time of year, many kids do holiday-themed worksheets in school, at church, or for fun at home. One of the standard worksheets is a “connect-the-dots” exercise. Dots are scattered across the page in a seemingly random, arbitrary manner. Kids know exactly what to do, however, because those random dots have specific numbers next to them. A child starts with the dot labeled “#1” and then draws a line to the dot labeled “#2,” and so on. After they have connected all the dots, a picture of Santa, Frosty, or Rudolf appears.
The prophetic promises scattered across the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures in a seemingly arbitrary way are like those dots. Seeing the scattered dots may not reveal much. But once you begin to connect the dots, everything changes. An image emerges.
There is no such thing as a “Christmas Psalm” in the Old Testament, but if there were one, Psalm 28 would make a great candidate. David is not known for being a prophet like Isaiah or Micah. David, the shepherd-king, writes a prayer in Psalm 28 asking God to bless his people, shepherd his people, and carry his people forever.
Draw a line from the “dot” of David’s words in Psalm 28:9 to the “dot” of Micah’s words in Micah 5:2. Continue your line to the words of Matthew in Matthew 2:6. The common theme, hero, and mascot is “shepherd.” The line continues with Jesus’ emotional response to seeing the crowds in Matthew 9:36 as being “harassed and helpless” without a shepherd.
Connect all those dots, and a picture of “the Great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20), Jesus, our Mighty God, emerges. One of the sad truths of the Christmas story is that Herod and the religious elite missed the child of promise because they could not connect the dots. They could not see how God was shaping and shepherding events.
Connect the dots in your life. Look at key events of your childhood. Notice the significant moments of your adolescence. Take account of the ups and downs of your life. What picture emerges? What is God working in and through your life? He has been, and is, shaping and shepherding you.
Today: Consider what God is doing in your life. Connect the dots. Thank Jesus for shaping and shepherding your life according to his eternal plan. Thank Jesus for being your Mighty Shepherd!