When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the lock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. (1 Sam. 17:34–35)

MOST ANIMALS have a strong instinct to protect their young. Watch the Discovery Channel and you’ll see mama bear standing up to larger aggressive male grizzlies that would threaten to devour her cub. Even prey often stand up to predators if their babies are in danger. But some animals seem to abandon that protective instinct when there’s a real threat. They will run off and leave their young vulnerable to attack. Far too many parents, pastors, bosses, teachers, leaders and officials in our society have abandoned or neglected their role as protectors! I’m a leader, and there is a real temptation to act like the shepherd who just enjoys the wool and meat of the sheep, but runs away at the first sight of the wolves.

David was a different kind of shepherd, one who foreshadowed Jesus. He was willing to run into the fray to defend his sheep. The snarling teeth and the hungry roar did not scare him off. He loved the sheep, which on most days meant he fed them and led them. But when they were under attack, love meant war.

Fathers, protect your children. Bosses, guard your employees’ well-being. Officials, defend the justice of your people. Leaders, stand up for those who are being bullied. Our real enemy, the Devil, is hunting. He’s out for blood. Stand up in Jesus’ name and defend the sheep.

Speak up and restore dignity the next time you hear someone being torn apart.

 Jarod Osborne is the lead pastor of Warsaw Wesleyan Church. He is also the author of Jaded Faith (WPH).

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.