Identity Found in God
The Shepherd and the Sheep
~ The Shepherd
~ The Sheep
~ The Voice of the Shepherd
~ The Art of Listening
~ The Lost Sheep
~ The Path
~ Living as His Sheep
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
Sheep. Let’s explore a few descriptions of sheep that I found. See if you can relate to any of these:
· Sheep don’t have top teeth (ok that was just for fun! J)
· Sheep won’t lie down unless they feel safe and comfortable
· Sheep are afraid of a lot of things
· Sheep’s cuts and scratches were healed by olive oil that the shepherd rubbed on them
· Sheep have a good memory (can remember at least 50 individual sheep and human figures)
· Sheep have poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of hearing
· Sheep are very social creatures
· Sheep tend to follow each other, even if it’s not a good idea
· Sheep rely on shepherds to guide them & to protect them from harm
· Sheep are afraid of rushing water. They drown easily.
· Sheep become stressed when separated from their flock
· Sheep have little ability to defend themselves
I have to say that I was shocked about something during my sheep study. I looked and I looked, typing a variety of phrases in the search box, but I could not find a description of sheep that I expected. Nowhere did it mention that sheep were “stupid”. What I have found is that sheep are definitely in need of guidance and direction, but they have it in them to be lead-able. They have the ability to hear well, they recognize their name and trust in the human shepherd they have grown to know. That takes some “smarts”. They may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but they know how to follow a shepherd – there’s something to be said about that characteristic.
Do sheep need a shepherd? Absolutely! No doubt that a flock of sheep thrives and survives much better when a shepherd is tending to them. As I consider the sheep I saw on the rocky hillside of Israel, I would feel sad if they were making that journey without their shepherd. What a treacherous route, yet it was possible with the peace of the shepherd.
My brother and sister sheep, what can we conclude about ourselves? We are referred to as sheep in many passages in the Bible. As we are compared to sheep, it often accompanies the words, “follow” and “listen”. One thing to consider is the fact that this sheep-like characteristic just might be at odds with what we find in society. Words like independent and self-sufficient do not fit in well with the nature of a sheep. As much as we are encouraged to take care of ourselves, there is a reality that we need a shepherd. I wonder if sometimes we get so drawn up in our daily tasks, and follow and listen to other voices around us, that we get distracted from following and listening to our Shepherd.
As sheep, there is something to being a part of a flock. As mentioned before, sheep are social; they become stressed when they find themselves separated from the flock. Even though we may enjoy our alone time, as a big picture, don’t we do better with others surrounding us? Others who are following the same Shepherd. Being compared to a sheep brings the idea of doing life together with the Body of Christ, as Jesus leads us in and through the journey we are on. I don’t know about you, but here are some truths I see in my identity as a sheep:
Are there times I find myself straying, wandering away from the flock, and even the shepherd? (head hung down) Yes.
When I stray, is it more stressful? Pause. Yes.
Do I rest better, put my guard down when I feel the safety and comfort my Shepherd provides? Yep!
Do I recognize my shepherd and hear Him calling my name? Well…Yes, when I have spent time with Him.
Do I surrender the path I think is best, stick with the flock and be led by my shepherd? Um…well…yes when I’m not splurging on too much “green grass”.
We, His sheep, are not necessarily dumb. We, like sheep, are crafted to be creatures who are not 100% capable to protect ourselves from the enemy, but are created in a way that causes us to be lead-able. We can lie down and rest, or trudge through the rocky hillside, even when enemies and evil surrounds us because we fall into relationship with our Shepherd. Consider some of the questions above. Write down what you sense God is wanting you to know about being a sheep in His flock.