So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
– 1 Samuel 16:11
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 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. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
- – John 10:11-18
I have no idea if I have ever heard a sermon on the parallels in David, as a shepherd, and Jesus, as the Good Shepherd.
David was a man after God’s own heart. He tended the sheep. He had no problem going up against Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, because he had gone up against bears and lions who attacked the sheep. Jesus talked of the Good Shepherd laying down His life for His sheep – pointing to His death and resurrection, but David put himself into harms way to protect his sheep. At a tender age, David understood what Jesus meant regarding the mindset of the shepherd, and I really think that David retained that shepherd mindset while reigning as king of Israel. David had a lot of blood on his hands, because he protected his people.
Some will say that it is a coincidence, but I believe there are no such things in the broad spectrum. God has a plan, and He wants us to discover these little ‘Easter Eggs’ (as a friend calls hidden objects in movies and on television shows). It may not mean anything toward salvation, but it is interesting. Shepherding was David’s profession before becoming king. For Jesus, it was a figure of speech to illustrate His sovereignty over His chosen people. But there is that connection.
Are we to be shepherds for our flock? Regardless of how you look at it, we are told, and the Holy Spirit prods us in that direction, to serve others, to make them more secure, to lay down our life to protect them.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.