Knowing and Being Known

A further reflection on Knowing God, chapter 3

Throughout the Bible, God’s relationship with his people is described using the metaphor of a shepherd with their sheep. Famously, we read these words in Psalm 23:

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

When Jesus comes, he elaborates on this relational picture by describing himself as ‘the good shepherd’.

John 10:11    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 

John 10:14    “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 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. 

Take some time today to reflect on the relational dynamic of the shepherd and their sheep. As part of your reflection, you might like to write down the things that God does (“he”, the shepherd) and the things that we (“I”, the sheep) do.

  • How do you respond to God’s ‘shepherding’? 
  • How might this picture of God’s relationship with you form your view of God?