Two Precious Names for God

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By Rev. William Ilnisky

Scripture:  1 PETER 18-25

Reflection on Scripture of the Day 

In the last verse of this chapter we come upon two of the great names for God-the “Shepherd and Bishop of our souls” -as the Authorized Version states it.  (1) God is the Shepherd of the souls of men.  The Greek word is poimen and shepherd is one of the oldest descriptions of God. The Psalmist has it in the best loved of all the Psalms: “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).  Isaiah has it: “He will feed His flock like a shepherd:  He will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are young” (Isaiah 40:11).

The great king that God was going to send to Israel would be the shepherd of His people.  Ezekiel hears the promise of God: “…I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them; he shall feed them and be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24).

This was the title Jesus took to Himself when He called himself the Good Shepherd and when He said that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:1-18).  To Jesus, the men and women who did not know God and who were waiting for what He could give them were like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34).  The great privilege given to the servant and the minister of Jesus is to shepherd the flock of God (John 21:16; 1 Peter 5:2).

It may be difficult for those of us who live in an industrial civilization to grasp the greatness of this picture.  However, in the Middle East the picture would be very vivid, especially in Judaea, where there was a narrow central plateau which held danger on either side.  It was on this narrow tableland that the sheep grazed.  Grass was sparse; there were no protecting walls and the sheep wandered.  The shepherd, therefore, had to be ceaselessly and sleeplessly on the watch lest harm would come to his flock.

The word “shepherd” gives us the most vivid picture of the ceaseless vigilance and the self-sacrificing love of God for us who are His flock.  “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3).

Life Application: 

I had never viewed shepherds at work until one day when Esther and I were driving through the country of Jordan and came across shepherds watering their sheep.  I now have some understanding of the work of the shepherd and God as my Shepherd watching over me and seeing that I am taken care of.


Dear God, I am so thankful that You are my Shepherd and that You take care of all my needs while I’m on earth.  When watching earthly shepherds caring for their sheep, I got a picture of You taking care of your children and why You call Yourself a shepherd.  Thank You for watching over me and my family and seeing to it that all we need for life You generous supply.  What outstanding love!  Amen!

Speak Your Mind

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