"I am Jesus' little lamb, Ever glad at heart I am; For my Shepherd gently guides me, Knows my need and well provides me, Loves me ev'ry day the same, Even calls me by my name.
"Who so happy as I am, Even now the Shepherd's lamb? And when my short life is ended, By His angel host attended, He shall fold me to His breast, There within His arms to rest."
"The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want." Psalm 23—David's song of praise for the Shepherd of Israel—is treasured for the assurance and peace it brings. Especially in times of fear or loss, the psalmist's inspired words bring to mind the hope found only in our Good Shepherd, the One who shelters us with His love, now and forever.
Our hymn is a child's celebration of that same psalm. This is because the Good Shepherd loves all of His sheep, including His littlest lambs. His sheep, young and old alike, need His care. And, we must admit, His well-cared for and well-fed sheep (even the most mature among us!), are inclined to sometimes wander in search of greener pastures we mistakenly believe can be found elsewhere. Jesus our Shepherd, who loves us every day the same, eagerly searches us out when we wander, calls us to repentance, and restores us with His blood-bought forgiveness.
The Shepherd's sheep enjoy green pastures and still waters. They are gently guided by the Shepherd who knows their needs and, with ceaseless, unchanging love, calls each one of them by name. Born anew through Baptism and brought into the fold, both adult sheep and tiny lambs learn day by day to recognize their Shepherd's voice in the Word. The lambs learn what the Shepherd has done for them, because the Shepherd Himself is also a lamb, the perfect Lamb of God who was slain for us. He laid down His life for the sheep and—as we so recently celebrated—took up His life again that He might share His resurrection life with us. Because our Shepherd Jesus has walked through "the valley of the shadow of death," we, His sheep, need never fear that shadowed valley.
As mature sheep or little lambs, we are safe in our Shepherd's care. Who could be so happy as we are? David the psalmist knew that happiness; he also knew as each sheep knows that he would "dwell in the house of the LORD forever." For "when my short life is ended,"—and each of us in the Shepherd's fold will come to that day—the Shepherd, who even now holds us securely in His hand, will take us up in His strong arms and hold us closely to Himself, and we will rest in His presence forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Shepherd, You know our every need before we even ask. Please guide us with Your Word and nourish us with Your body and blood. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "I Am Jesus' Little Lamb," which is found on page 740 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you experience "green pastures and still waters" in your life?
2. Thinking of ourselves as Jesus' little lambs might seem a stretch, but do you see Him as caring for your needs as a shepherd would his sheep? How does Jesus do this?
3. When you talk about Jesus with others, do you portray Him as a Shepherd? Do you characterize Him in other ways?
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