Psalm 78 is a psalm of God's wrestlings with the nation of Israel. Israel was meant to be God's flock, the sheep of his pasture, but they are stubborn and rebellious. God leads them, delivers them, and provides for them but they grumble and complain and continue to go their own way. God's final answer to the problem of His wayward people, according to the Psalm is to send David as the anointed king and shepherd of Israel. According to the Psalm the Lord took David "from the care of the ewes with suckling lambs...to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands." Psalm 78:71-72
This is a fascinating conclusion to the story of God and Israel in this Psalm. It seems that David is a more successful shepherd than God, only God is the Shepherd of Israel through David. And as the story unfolds, it will become clear that David too is a wandering sheep as well as shepherd. David too would need shepherding as he confesses in the famous 23rd psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd..." Nevertheless, the precedent is set that God would use a human being to bring about his purposes for the human race. God wants a shepherd for His people and it seems that in order for the shepherd to be successful, he also needs to be one of us. Yet, he also has to be free from our waywardness. Ultimately, it is only Jesus who can fulfill this vocation to Shepherd the people of Israel. God Himself would come to shepherd the human race but He would do it as one of us, as a man. And he would do it, not so that we could be sheep who thoughtlessly enter green pastures but so that we could become sheep who also become shepherds to lead other sheep to green pastures.
God is in the business of expanding His business and He does so by turning sheep into shepherds. Today, God is calling you to become one of His sheep, to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd. And as you follow His voice, you will also be given the task of becoming a shepherd yourself, not in place of The Good Shepherd but by becoming a partner, a co-laborer, with the Good Shepherd. When Jesus asks you "Do you love me?" And you answer "yes.", His next words to you will be "feed my sheep." The sheep of God's pasture have been scattered and slaughtered. We need shepherds to protect and guide the sheep. Can you hear God calling your name?