For about seven years, Moody Bible Institute graduate Caleb Fetterhoff has been living and ministering to semi-nomadic shepherds high in the mountains of Lesotho in southern Africa. These shepherds care for flocks that belong to wealthy owners down in the valleys. Their lifestyle put them beyond the reach of local churches, so Caleb lives as one of them in order to reach them with the gospel. In March 2020, he baptized a group of new believers!
Caleb is following in the footsteps of our Messiah, the Good Shepherd. The initial word in today’s reading was not good. The nation of Judah would be conquered by Babylon, as conveyed by the picture of her ruler being struck on the cheek (v. 1). But immediately the prophet countered this bad news with a hope-filled promise from the Lord: One day a very different Ruler will come. He would be born in Bethlehem from the line of David, although His “origins” would be even older (v. 2). This Ruler “will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God” (v. 4).
Clearly this is a Messianic prophecy (see Matt. 2:6) about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He will be the ideal shepherd or the perfect king. He will do what kings should do, what Israelite rulers failed to do—protect, provide for, and care for the people. The Messiah will deliver the nation from her enemies and keep the “remnant,” true believers, safe (Micah 5:5–9). He will win the victory and “be our peace” (v. 5). Again, the Hebrew word here is shalom, indicating holistic well-being.
>> Read more about Caleb and the Good Shepherd in this month’s president’s column. What does an ideal shepherd or leader look like today? What qualities or virtues should they possess? In what specific ways can we strive to be Christlike leaders?