shepherd with sheepWhat do you call someone who mindlessly follows and emulates anything and everything in the name of fame or recognition? According to the urban dictionary, these “sheep” are also a group of people who lack the capacity for careful consideration, imagination, or individual thought and so go along with the group. A person who likes anything and everything that “everyone” likes for the sake of being cool. Once that trend ends and everyone stops liking it, they promptly start disliking it and it becomes the worst thing in the world. (I’m sure you can think of several examples from popular culture. I’m recalling seasons of leg warmers, rainbow-striped suspenders, and sweaters draped around the neck.)

The wooly livestock variety of sheep has similar characteristics. They are gregarious flock animals who have the natural inclination to follow a leader, presumably to fresh pastures, but the leader may simply be the first individual to move. The flock is so important that sheep can become stressed when separated from the other members. Sheep are frequently thought of as unintelligent animals because of their flocking behavior and quickness to flee or panic. They can be easily led back to the fold with the enticement of food as a reward.

Have you ever acted like a sheep and followed the crowd in the wrong direction? “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV) When Jesus saw the crowds, “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NIV, see also Mark 6:34) “I have strayed like a lost sheep.” (Psalm 119: 176a NIV)

The bottom line is that sheep need a shepherd and we have the perfect one. “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV) “Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” (Psalm 28:9 NIV) “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV) 

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness …. I will tend them in a good pasture … I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down … I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak … I will shepherd the flock with justice.”  (Ezekiel 34:11-16 NIV)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14-16 NIV) This is the same Jesus who told the story of the shepherd who left the 99 members of his flock to go seek the one sheep that was lost and then rejoiced when he brought the lost sheep home again. (Luke 15:3-7)

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

Creation declares that we need a shepherd because we tend to get lost on our own.

What about you? Have you ever gotten lost or followed the crowd? Do you need a shepherd? What benefits are there in having a shepherd?

Creation Declares – Sheep
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