God makes allowances for differences to provide for us

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Have you ever wondered why God announced Jesus' birth first to shepherds?

Only people such as humble shepherds would believe such an incredible story and then have the curiosity to go in the middle of the night to see whether it were true.

Another factor was that the shepherds were not normally inclined to serve as spokesmen who went about the countryside spreading news of a particular event. I can imagine when the shepherds "returned glorifying and praising God and telling everyone they saw what they had seen and heard," the people were so dumbfounded that they dropped what they were doing and listened; therefore, it should not come as a surprise that we read, "... and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them."

After reading John 10, we can also conclude that God felt closely akin to them. We have only to read Psalm 23 to see how true that is. In the fullness of time, God came in the flesh to show us first hand what it means for him to be our Shepherd, which role God still wants to play in our lives.

Isaiah reminded us, "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, and he shall gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those who are young."

What consolation it is to know that Christ, our Shepherd, knows our every weakness and makes provision accordingly.

Because we are all different, God makes allowances for those differences in how he provides all things for us to experience the abundant life he promises in John 10:10.

Like sheep, sometimes we do dumb things resulting in our actually or potentially being hurt. Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, rescues us from harm's way or allows events to happen to prevent hurtful experiences. God knows where the "green grass" and "still waters" are and leads us there so we can be nourished, strengthened, and have the joy of our salvation restored.

Dr. Gene Norris is a local Presbyterian pastor.


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