Ezekiel 34:31 “‘You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.'”
This echoes Psalms 79:13, 95:7, and 100:3, with a minor difference that struck me just now. The references in the Psalms all conflate people and sheep, but here God seems to be making the point that whereas we are indeed the sheep of His pasture, we are specifically people, human beings, and not just sheep. We have a lot in common with sheep, more than we like to admit, but that’s not all we are. God is the Creator of sheep, but He is not their heavenly Father. We need to remember that, and not always act like dumb sheep! In saying that we are people, God also affirms that He is our God; He is not disowning us. That is enormously important. We do lots of stupid things, and we suffer the consequences, but rather than discarding us, God disciplines us and draws us back to Himself. That’s what John 3:16 is all about. The glory of the Gospel is that by repentance and faith we can become the people of God, purchased and cleansed by the blood of His Son. When we have that firmly in our minds and hearts, nothing can shake us
This has been my experience, and I am deeply grateful. I act like a sheep far too often, being both witless and stubborn, but God always draws me back with His rod and His staff. (Psalm 23:4) Apart from Him I have certainly no better defenses than a sheep, but in Christ I can put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18) Apart from Him I have no resources beyond what I happen upon, just as a sheep eating grass, but in Him I have an abundant feast. (Psalm 23:5) I am His sheep and I am also His child, called and anointed by Him as His representative to the world around me, so that others too may know of His love and grace and repent and believe, for their salvation and His glory.
Father, thank You for making it possible for me to be Your child. Help me be an obedient, loving child, mature in faith but never forgetting my childlike wonder at the depth and magnificence of Your grace. May I be increasingly effective and transparent as Your agent toward all I encounter, so that nothing will interfere with their seeing Christ through me, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!