Series: Day 14 | Psalm 23:1-6 | Day 30 | Psalm 23:1 | He Restores My Soul | For You Are With Me | You Prepare A Table Before Me | Surely, Forever
Sheep aren’t known for their smarts. In fact, they’re known for being quite the opposite. Sadly, they have a reputation of being nothing but dumb followers.
The Bible often refers to believers as sheep. Considering their reputation, this can understandingly come off as offensive. However, if we would push past feeling offended, we would come to realize that being a sheep in the Good Shepherd’s flock is quite the humble privilege.
Lambs are taught to follow the older members of their flock from birth. When we’re taught a behavior from that young, it quickly becomes ingrained into our lives as second nature. We eventually behave in that way without even having to intentionally think about it. The act of following is second nature for sheep. Which ultimately makes the act of wandering off second nature too.
If one sheep wanders away, it’s only a matter of time till other sheep follow. It is the shepherd’s responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. Even so, some sheep inevitably wander off and end up hurt or worse – dead.
Being compared to a breed of followers of this repute doesn’t exactly sit well with us. Society doesn’t applaud followers, after all. And yet we read here that the Good Shepherd leads us.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. | Psalm 23:3b
The natural implication is that we, as the sheep, follow. It seems we perpetuate the unfortunate reputation. But perhaps we’re thinking about it all wrong. Yes, society tells us that being a follower is a mindless role and that the true intellectuals are those who lead. But maybe, we should stop defining ourselves by the world’s definitions.
Could it be that God isn’t trying to offend us when He refers to us as sheep? Could it be that He is simply speaking truth? Here’s a radical thought:
Maybe, we were
C R E A T E D to F O L L O W.
And maybe, just maybe, there is a unique joy and privilege found in the humble role of following.
Our Good Shepherd lovingly, patiently, graciously leads us along the paths that He knows are best for us. He takes responsibility for each of us, steers us back to safety when we veer off course, and He does all of this “for His name’s sake.”
I remember listening to a message on Psalm 23 by Matt Chandler several years ago. The phrase that kept coming up – the single, revolutionary point he wanted his audience to understand:
God is for God.
God is all about protecting His reputation. Everything He does, great or small, is completely and totally for His glory.
So why do we matter? If God is for God, why are the sheep of any significance?
We are of significance to Him, our Good Shepherd. Yes, we are dumb creatures that wander off to our folly, shame, and harm. But the Good Shepherd cares deeply and passionately for each of us. Should any one of us wander off, He would come searching for us. And having found us, He would REJOICE (Matthew 18:12-14)!
In the same way, the Good Shepherd leads us along the paths that He knows are best for us in pure and unconditional love. We may not matter to anyone else, but we surely matter to Him! And in allowing us to be His sheep, the Good Shepherd places us in a position of great esteem and privilege. Don’t miss this:
God has equipped us for the task of
glorifying His name.
Why does He lead us? For His name’s sake, yes. But do you see the incredible role God has granted us in this? God is for God – AND YET He allows US to be the very ones who reveal His glory as we live, as we obey, as we
F O L L O W.
The Good Shepherd leads His sheep in love. The sheep do what they were created to do: follow in faith. And through this, His name is glorified.
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, | 1 Timothy 1:12