The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. —Psalm 23:1-3
Sheep aren't known for their smarts. Generally, they're unable to make decisions on their own. They simply follow the lead of the shepherd, stopping when he stops, walking when he walks. Of course, as I read this psalm written by David, I think he has a different view of sheep.
Most likely this psalm is familiar to you. It is a psalm of comfort and peace; a reminder that the Lord is with you at all times, even in your darkest hour. People cling to this psalm when someone dies, when there is illness, a loss of a job, or a relationship ended. We cry out to the Lord who is our Shepherd, begging Him to lead us.
David was a shepherd himself. He knew as well as anyone how lost a sheep was without its shepherd. The shepherd took care of every need. The shepherd led his sheep to water and food, and provided time to rest and recoup. It was when the sheep walked away and tried to do things on their own that trouble came, as they too easily walked away from their best interests.
In this psalm, David doesn't focus on the stupidity of sheep. He focuses on whom they are following. For they follow the one who will protect and provide for them. They follow the one who wants to give extravagant blessing, unfailing love and goodness. Sounds like some smart sheep to me.
How else can you and I face life with confidence, but with the Lord at our side? It is He who offers us His hand, guiding us in the here and now, and ultimately to eternity with Him. He wants us to have eternal life, eternal blessings and eternal goodness. But, He also wants us to be as smart as sheep and choose to follow Him daily. He wants us to choose to walk through this life walking near to Him and holding onto His promises.
1. How do you choose to follow your own way in life?
2. How have you let God lead you in some ways and not others? How can you work towards following Him in all ways?