On Sheep and Shepherding
A sheep that wanders off from the flock looking for greener pastures than those the shepherd leads him to, isn’t terribly evil just arrogant. He believes he knows better than the shepherd even though the shepherd’s view is from a better vantage point. The shepherd sees far more than the lowly sheep ever could.
A sheep that wanders off accidentally because his head is down as he feeds, focusing on his own needs, isn’t inherently evil just selfish. Though he may defend himself by saying he was just taking care of the necessities of life just like a good sheep should. Regardless, he still went astray.
A sheep that loses the flock by not keeping pace with the shepherd isn’t shockingly evil, maybe he’s a bit unteachable. He could be just a daydreamer. Or maybe he’s unhealthy and unable to keep pace. There are a lot of reasons he may not keep up but this slow sheep draws the attention of the wolves and puts the whole flock in danger.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, We have turned, each one, to his own way; But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing] To fall on Him [instead of us]. Isaiah 53:6 AMP
Through the Valley
The shepherd has to lead us into the valleys for it is there that better pastures grow. It is there that we find the best nutrition, the best food for growth. This is where we are spiritually fattened up. He leads us to mountain tops for us to catch the vision. To get a game plan. And then He leads us through valleys to ready us for what’s ahead.
This is life, it is a journey. We can’t just sit on a mountain top. It’s a journey so we must keep moving. Valleys are always between the mountain tops.
When We Allow Him to Shepherd
When we allow God to be the shepherd and we take our rightful place as lowly sheep, we can trust Him to care for us. Everything we need will be provided. He will lead us to our needed provision. Our job is only to follow. His rod and staff comfort us for He uses them to fight off wolves and gently guide us to safety. We can rest knowing that He takes charge over us. He is always on guard. Our shepherd proved He was willing to lay down His life for His sheep. There is no place more joyous and safe than in His presence. If today you hear the Shepherd’s voice, follow Him and live!
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.
Psalm 23 AMP