This question keeps coming up over and over again. When we think of someone who is a shepherd we see in our minds of someone who tending flocks of sheep, The shepherd knows the land so well he knows where the water is and most of all he knows the best places to graze the sheep. We see him a strong and confident person who does not wavier in his leadership. The sheep trust him that he will not lead them astray. The sheep knows his voice and rely on him for all that they need. They know that he will care for them. Another shepherd may come along and they will not go with him because they do not know his voice. Being in Jordan I have watched this play out as a shepherdess would tend her flock of sheep and goats. I watched them as they would go from pasture area to the next. The flock never question as to where they were going they followed her with trust that she would lead them on the right path.
So what makes a good shepherd? I used to work in several stores over the years. They did not spend much time on the features that make up a counterfeit bill no, rather they spent much of our training on the real money they showed us all the security features we had to know so well that when fake came across the counter we could spot it a mile away. So how do know the true shepherd? We need to His voice so we will not stray. We need to develop a personal relationship with Him. We have to trust Him so completely that we follow only Him. Many pretenders may come and try to steal away the flock.
Let us examine how the Chief Shepherd leads us.
Yeshuah therefore said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. “I am the door. Whoever enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and shall go out and find pasture. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to slaughter, and to destroy. I have come that they might possess life, and that they might possess it beyond measure. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. “But the hireling, and not being a shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. And the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. “Now the hireling flees because he is a hireling and is not concerned about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. a And I know Mine, and Mine know Me, Footnote: a Eze_34:1-31 (all) especially Eze_34:11-12, Heb_13:20, 1Pe_2:25, 1Pe_5:4. even as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold – I have to bring them as well, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock, one shepherd. b Footnote: b See also Joh_11:52, Eph_2:13-19, Isa_56:8, Eze_34:23, Eze_37:24. “Because of this the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, in order to receive it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to receive it again. (Joh 10:7-22)
Yeshuah gives us the picture of what a true shepherd should be like. Today we have a lot of false shepherds who only are only in it for the fame, control and money. So they go out and build assembly large wealthy flock and would not give the time of day to the poor person in the pew. Sadly enough people will put up with it, Yeshuah did not put up with the money changers in the temple. He made a whip and drove them out. We need more people to take a stand and show them what our master thinks of those who take advantage of those who do such things.
A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah forever. (Psa 23:1-6)
Now we have looked at what makes a good shepherd let see what is an evil shepherd. As we have seen above how a good shepherd gathers the sheep, loves them, feeds and waters them, He calls them and they hear His voice and come to Him for they trust Him. He guards them and only allows in those sheep who are His. He is the gate to protect them in the fold. He lays down His life for them without question. Also we looked at the hireling who is only there for the money. He cares nothing for them, he divides them and allows the wolf to come and destroy them. In other words he has no vested interest in them. He does not take care of them if one wonders off he says so what not my concern. the flock knows this and will not come to him.
We have seen from one church to another that the false shepherds they divide the flock and chase away the Godly and keep the wealthy people so they can build bigger buildings to house more people to get more money. This is not the heart of YHVH and He will judge them.
The priests did not say, Where is Jehovah? And they who handle the Law did not know Me; the shepherds also rebelled against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things not profitable. (Jer 2:8)
Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard; they have trampled My portion under foot; they have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. (Jer 12:10)
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture, says Jehovah. Therefore so says Jehovah, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who feed My people, You have scattered My flock, and have driven them away, and have not visited them. Behold, I will bring on you the evil of your doings, says Jehovah. And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their fold. And they shall be fruitful and multiply. And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they shall fear no more, nor be afraid; nor shall they lack anything, says Jehovah. (Jer 23:1-4)
Howl, shepherds, and cry; and roll, leaders of the flock! For the days of your slaughter and of your scatterings are fulfilled; and you shall fall like a desirable vessel. And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the choice ones of the flock, to escape. A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and a howling of the choice ones of the flock shall be heard; for Jehovah has spoiled their pasture. And the peaceful pastures are cut down because of the fierce anger of Jehovah. Like the lion, He has left His den; for their land is wasted because of the oppressor’s pressing fury, and because of His fierce anger. (Jer 25:34-38)
Those evil shepherds shall be removed and replaced by YHVH and He will bring in shepherds that have His heart and never more the sheep be scattered and devoured by the wolves. The true shepherd will lead them and drive them away. They will trust Him for He will lead them as in Psalms 23, they will not fear but they will rest in Him.
So how do we identify a true shepherd? By getting into the scriptures and learning who He is. Then that which counterfeit we will be able know and run from the evil towards our strong tower.