We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
If indeed “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture,” it is no compliment.
Sheep are very “not smart” (at our house we’re not allowed to say the word dumb). They are also followers, smelly, and easily lost. And when they tip over, they give up and don’t try to stand up again. A cast sheep becomes frightened and frustrated, frantically flailing her legs. She then gives up—as if thinking, “I’m DEAD!”
Like sheep, we sometimes become downcast. We ask, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” The answer? “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11) The Bible says that God comforts the downcast and that He restores our souls. We need a little extra attention and a shepherd to pick us up.
A Good Shepherd also tends to the mothers and the young. “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) And the Shepherd uses his voice to lead. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27).
But that doesn’t mean sheep don’t stray or follow another wayward ewe. During the spring and summer, it’s inevitable that one sheep will squeeze her 180 pounds through the fence wires to find the grass that is greener on the other side. The problem is, others follow through the fence, out to the roadside and into the neighbor’s lawn where they are unprotected from cars, dogs, and wild animals. They might eat noxious weeds or poisonous plants. When I see the sheep out on the gravel road, I drive them in—literally. I aim my Prius at the sheep, and they quickly wriggle back through the fence.
We’re like sheep. We wander and need our Good Shepherd to guide us home. Remember the Shepherd’s comforting rod and staff? The rod taps each sheep’s head as the shepherd counts its return to the fold; and the staff pulls the sheep out of dangerous situations. I am comforted knowing He cares enough to count me worthy of pulling out of a predicament.
I know the sheep of Skyemoor Farm need a shepherd, and I do too.