Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-18Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us, be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Words by Dorothy A. Thrupp, 1836
William B. Bradbury, 1859

 

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:1 – 18

 

One of the many things I miss about my childhood is growing up on a farm. To have wide open spaces and animals all around. We had dairy cattle, pigs, ducks, chickens, turkeys, a pony, a couple of miniature mules and three or four sheep.

I love working with animals. But, as anyone with a pet, let alone a who farm knows, animals are a great responsibility. You have to feed them, clean up after them and watch over them. You not only want to meet their needs, but you are seeking to keep them safe as well. You lead them to food and along safe routes. You care for them when they are sick and you keep away dangers.

Historically this is the role that a Shepherd fulfilled, and this is the image that Dorothy Thrupp draws upon in her hymn, “Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us.” The theme is found through out scripture and is an incredible picture of Christ relationship to us.

Thrupp writes, “Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care; In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.” The message reminds us of the fact that in and of ourselves, we will not do what is best for us. We need Jesus care to watch over us, protect us and to meet our needs.

She continues with the imagery as she writes, “Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.” For the sheep, it was the wolf that was a danger and the shepherd stood guard, ready to fight off any that came. For us, it is sin that is the danger we must beware of. The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 12 verse 1 that we need to rid ourselves of “the sin that so easily entangles.” Yes, sin is the danger we face, and it is Christ who stands guard. It is Christ who gives us the strength to stand against sin.

Even so, at times we still wander from the path that Christ our shepherd has laid out for us. When this happens he comes to find us as the shepherd in Luke 15:4 who leaves the 99 to find the one who has become lost.

Thrupp now sets aside her imagery of the Shepherd to speak straight to our situations. She writes, “Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be; Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.” None of us is perfect. More accurately, we are anything but good people. But as sinful and lost as we are, Christ is willing to accept us. But beyond his willingness to accept us, he is able to make us clean and to forgive us for our sins. He is able to make us new, to set us free.

Isaiah 53:6 tells us, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.” This is who we are. When we are left to our own devices, we wander away. But God placed our failings on Christ. He took our place. The rest of Isaiah 53:6 tells us, “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Christ is our Shepherd and our Savior. He alone can make us new. It is out of thankfulness for Christ loving sacrifice that I sing the final words of this hymn, “Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.”

 

 

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