The other morning my oldest son flew into the house and said, "Mom, you have to see this!" I left the kitchen and went with him to the back porch door. He went out and brought our little orphan lamb over from the barn. Jip followed him across the yard and then J.D. pointed him one way, darted back into the house and told me, "Watch!"
Immediately the woolly little fellow started bleating and wondering around...he ran to the other edge of the house and back to where he came from. Then he started circling around the door...J.D. was enjoying the scene and we each laughed a bit, but then I said, "That's why God calls us His sheep."
Friend, I wish you could have witnessed this...the little lamb knew his "shepherd" was gone and he wasn't content until J.D. went back outside. Now, I know our "Shepherd" will never leave us or forsake us (or hide from us), but I was reminded there are times I drift and moments I take my eyes off of the Lord. I'm sorry to say I don't always respond like our little lamb.
I grew up on a sheep farm and I haven't always appreciated being compared to this animal...they are not the smartest or strongest on the farm, instead they are one that is quite dependent. Though the world pushes us towards independence more and more all the time, God longs for our dependence on Him to increase continuously.
Like sheep, he wants us to depend on our Shepherd. He wants us to know His voice and follow it. God created us to need Him and trust Him just like Jip does with J.D. My son had taken our little lamb out of his pen and there will be times when God leads us out of our comfort zone, but may we remember He will never hide. He will sustain, lead and protect His sheep...that means you and me.
Friend, you don't have to take my word for this because we can find all the support we need in the Word! Psalms 100:3 says, "Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture." You belong to God...He cares for you!!
John 10:14-15 tells us, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep." Friend, God made us, Christ died for us and the Holy Spirit lives in us...they know you, but do you know them? I encourage you to dig into God's Word and get to know our Shepherd better. The more we know His heart and understand His voice the better we will be at following Him.
Finally, this incident led me to think about Psalms 23 a bit more...I'm guessing you've heard these words many times and may even have them memorized, but I'd love to challenge you to meditate on them and ask God to speak through them in a fresh way. As you read these words, think about what they say about God as our Shepherd and you as a sheep.
"The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Friend, have you ever struggled in seeing yourself as a sheep? Why? What will you do today to strengthen your relationship with the Shepherd?