The Shepherd Knows Every Sheep
Fear not; for I have . . . called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isa.
Of all creatures the sheep is one of the most timid and helpless, and in the
East the shepherd's care for his flock is untiring and incessant. Anciently
as now there was little security outside of the walled towns. Marauders from
the roving border tribes, or beasts of prey from their hiding places in the
rocks, lay in wait to plunder the flocks. The shepherd watched his charge,
knowing that it was at the peril of his own life. Jacob, who kept the flocks
of Laban in the pasture grounds of Haran, describing his own unwearied
labor, said, "In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night;
and my sleep departed from my eyes" (Gen. 31:40). And it was while guarding
his father's sheep that the boy David, single-handed, encountered the lion
and the bear, and rescued from their teeth the stolen lamb.
As the shepherd leads his flock over the rocky hills, through forest and
wild ravines, to grassy nooks by the riverside; as he watches them on the
mountains through the lonely night, shielding from robbers, caring tenderly
for the sickly and feeble, his life comes to be one with theirs. A strong
and tender attachment unites him to the objects of his care. However large
the flock, the shepherd knows every sheep. Every one has its name, and
responds to the name at the shepherd's call.
As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine shepherd know His
flock that are scattered throughout the world. "Ye my flock, the flock of my
pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God." Jesus says, "I
have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." "I have graven thee upon the
palms of my hands" (Eze. 34:31; Isa. 43:1; 49:16).
Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our
infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we
live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His
servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to
find one of His sheep.
Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom
the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart. The cry for
aid reaches His ear. He came to draw all men unto Himself. He bids them,
"Follow me," and His Spirit moves upon their hearts to draw them to come to
Him. Many refuse to be drawn. Jesus knows who they are. He also knows who
gladly hear His call, and are ready to come under His pastoral care. He
says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." He
cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth
(The Desire of Ages, pp. 478-480).
>From Lift Him Up - Page 203
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