Sheep are stupid. No, I am not being mean, they really are stupid. They will eat until there is nothing left and then stand there and starve. They will drink filthy water. They will lie down in a hole and not be able to get back up, roll over on their back in the attempt and lay there until they die. They have no means of protecting themselves from predators, none. There are good reasons you do not see herds of wild sheep roaming the plains. Sheep are simply too stupid to survive and thrive on their own. They need a shepherd.
The Bible compares us to sheep a lot. Wow! That hurts. The Bible is saying we are stupid, too stupid to make it on our own. Our pride rears its head and says, “No, we can handle things. We don’t need someone telling us what to do, taking care of us. We can make it on our own!” Really?! Are you serious? Have you watched the news lately? Yeah, we are doing just great on our own.
You can tell if sheep have a good shepherd just by looking at them. Sheep can turn land into a paradise if properly cared for and a desert if not. It is all about their shepherd. A good shepherd keeps the sheep safe from predators, defending them with his life, if necessary. He makes sure they do not overgraze an area, moving them to new pastures as needed. Sometimes the route to those pastures passes through dangerous territory, but a good shepherd has already scouted the way in advance and walks with his sheep, never leaving them. A shepherd makes sure his sheep have clean, fresh water to drink. In fact, he leads them to the water and watches over them as they drink. If there are not enough minerals or salts nearby, he supplies the lack by planting sources of them nearby. If a sheep lies down and cannot get back up, the shepherd, ever vigilant, sees this and goes to their aid. He helps them to stand and holds them up until they can stand on their own again. He treats them for parasites, rubbing oils into their wool to soothe and heal. Sheep will not lie down to sleep unless they feel safe and at peace. The shepherd must provide that for them. Sheep know the voice of their shepherd; a good shepherd can calm his flock simply by speaking. A good shepherd will tirelessly search for a lost sheep until it is found and safe. The staff carried by a shepherd can be used as a weapon to defend his sheep, a hook to draw them back from danger, and to touch them gently in reassurance. In short, a good shepherd supplies all the needs of his sheep so they can live without a care and lie down at night in peace and sleep.
Ever heard of David? Most people have. He was the guy that killed the giant with a slingshot and later became king of Israel. But, before he killed the giant and before he became king, he was a shepherd. The youngest in his family, it fell to him to watch over the family flocks. As a shepherd, he became intimately acquainted with the needs of sheep and their relationship to their shepherd. He performed all the duties listed above and more. With that knowledge, he wrote Psalm 23. As you read it, keep in mind all the requirements and needs of the shepherd and his sheep.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
This psalm takes on a whole new meaning when you look at it through the eyes of a shepherd. And that last part, where it says surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, is not just speaking of those blessings in our own lives. It is speaking of what we, as sheep of a good shepherd, should leave behind wherever we go. What does the news tell us about the shepherd of this world?
“But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep. John 10:12-13
We are sheep among wolves. We need a good shepherd, one who will no turn form the dangers of this world. Jesus said,
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
Jesus laid down His life for His sheep. He gave all so we may have peace and rest. Then He picked His life up again, rose from the dead, so He could continue to guide and protect us, could lead us home to eternal life with Him. All He asks of us is to believe and to share His message with the sheep that are lost.
So, I ask you. Who is your shepherd?
I believe words are a powerful tool. God's word has the power to save, restore, edify, create and convict. I have been blogging for several years and find now, more than ever the world is in need of the truth as viewed through the lens of God's holy Word.
I love teaching about the Lord in any setting. From behind the pulpit, sitting in a class or writing a blog, I find fulfillment in sharing my faith through teaching.