Pastors, elders, in kinship with David, guard your own heart and give yourselves to shepherd the church of God He has placed in your care. Let not numbers of salary or membership or square footage drive you. Rather, be driven by the compassion and care of Christ, who gave His life for His sheep, including those He calls to shepherd the flock.
Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, NKJV)
God raised up David, a young shepherd from Bethlehem, to be shepherd of His people Israel. As God’s anointed king, David’s primary job description was framed in terms of shepherding.
70 He also chose David His servant,
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 From following the ewes that had young He brought him,
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
As shepherd he was to lead God’s people in the way of righteousness. He was to protect them and provide for them. Of all the nations of the earth, God had chosen Israel as His own, and He had raised up David to shepherd them.
But David was a flawed man. Driven by lust he allowed himself to satisfy his appetite with one of his sheep, and, in an attempt to cover his tracks, he sacrificed another of his sheep on the field of battle. Instead of being protected, they became prey for him.
In confronting David, Nathan the prophet brought to bear the story of a sheep, a sheep tenderly loved, stolen and slaughtered. Nathan exposed David as the culprit, David whom God had appointed king over Israel.
David’s heart was smitten and convicted. He acknowledged his sin: “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:10). Psalm 51 records the holy angst of David’s heart. He had failed as God’s shepherd. He asks God in His steadfast love and abundant mercy not to remove him from the position for which God had anointed him by His Spirit.