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Sheep Follow the Shepherd

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

The purposes of God often go counter to the expectations of man. Take David for example. The first king of Israel (Saul), although the “people’s choice,” was rejected by God from continuing his reign, and so, the prophet Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to anoint Jehovah’s chosen king among the sons of Jesse. Samuel expected to anoint the handsome and tall eldest son, Eliab, but God had refused him. And so, seven of Jesse’s sons passed by the prophet before the youngest David was anointed king, because God saw in him one after His own heart (1 Sam. 16:7; Acts 13:22).



Who would have thought this “ruddy” teen that tended his father’s sheep would one day shepherd a nation? Who could have known that, although skilled playing the harp, he would one day be the sweet psalmist of Israel? And even though he was brave enough to kill a lion and a bear, who would believe that he could slay a giant? Of course, we have the advantage of scripture so it’s easy to say God’s choice of David wouldn’t have surprised us; but had we lived then, would we have said the same?


As I recently read Acts 13:22 regarding God choosing David to be king, I was struck by the last part of the verse: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” Later in Acts 13:36 we find that David “had served his own generation by the will of God.” David would fulfil all God’s will (13:22) and would do so in serving his generation (13:36), whereas Saul had failed in this regard in not following the Lord’s commandments concerning the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15).


Two men: one fulfilled God’s will for his life whereas the other did not. As born-again followers of Jesus Christ we should desire to accomplish the Lord’s will for our lives but how do we determine the will of God for our life today without the aid of a prophet? And what’s more, how do we know to what degree we fulfill it? Not to mention what we do with unrealized goals, unfulfilled potential and the what-might-have-beens of life.


Ultimately, I believe the Lord’s will is expressed by the Holy Spirit impressing upon us His direction through the instrument of scripture, as we read and meditate upon it. We will fulfill God’s will and purpose for our life to the degree that we are obedient to His command to follow Him as He dictates our steps, in His time. Life is complex and we can get overwhelmed by the twists and turns, and highs and lows along the journey. Although we can’t see around the next bend with all its potential hazards and heartaches, our Shepherd can, we have only to follow as He leads us by His Spirit and Word. Rather than try to scheme and justify our own way, we need to die to self and submit to His will. It should not matter whether His purposes for us are widely seen by the public or seen only by Him, our pursuit of Christ and a heart desirous of Him should be what defines our life.


“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
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