Updated: Jun 29
If you've ever wondered why Christians are often referred to as "sheep" in the Bible, paying attention during the events of 2020 offers some answers.
During the time when the Bible was written, most people knew a lot about sheep, so it made sense to use them as a teaching illustration. But, there's more to it than that.
Just fair warning: Our 21st century American minds may not like being compared to sheep! But let me assure you, all of us like sheep have gone astray. Fortunately, we have a Shepherd to lead us home. Jesus is that Shepherd.
Six Ways We are Like Sheep:
#1 Sheep are not smart.
Now, you may be thinking, "WHAT?! Humans are the smartest beings on the face of the earth?!" But bear with me here: If a sheep tries to go through an opening that is too small, rather than backing up, it will keep trying to go forward. Have you ever been in a situation that was going downhill and you just needed to STOP and turn around...and yet you kept plowing forward? How'd that work out for you? Yeah, me too.
We often keep on doing the same things over and over and expect different results. In this time when millions of families are finding themselves either out of work and needing to homeschool the kids, or working from home and needing to homeschool the kids, or working essential jobs outside of the home and needing to homeschool the kids, and every day seems to run together...what have we tried that is different? Are we searching God's Word, virtually meeting with God's people, and praying...or are we doing the same things and expecting different results?
#2 Sheep are followers.
If one sheep moves, the others will follow even though it may not be a good decision. For example, if the some sheep in a herd start walking off a cliff, the others are likely to follow. Sometimes WE are followers too. We often do what others are doing, even when it doesn't make sense. Like when the Nazi party was rising to power and people just blindly followed them - even when it didn't make sense...and was outright harmful (and evil). Or in this case, when Coronavirus (a respiratory illness) started and we ran out of toilet paper. Ummmm? Perhaps some people with large families happened to be doing their typical weekly shopping and someone else saw them and thought, "They're buying a lot of toilet paper...I guess I should stock up, too!" And then the next person saw them with three mega packs of toilet paper and they thought, "Oh my, they must know something I don't..." and on and on it went!
Who are YOU following? Why? Are you doing what people around you are doing (wearing masks/not wearing masks) just because they are doing it? Or are you getting quiet and searching God's word and asking Him for answers?
#3 Sheep are wanderers.
Sheep frequently graze without paying attention to where they are going. Sometimes they look up as if to say, "Hey, where am I?" But still may not be able to find their way home even when it's within their sight. We tend to wander too. We stray away from God and His ways. Like sheep, we sometimes can't find the way home to Him. Fortunately for the sheep, their shepherd is there to rescue them and bring them home to the sheep fold. And, fortunately for us, we also have a Shepherd to rescue us and lead us home. Have you wandered from God during this time? He is waiting for you, longing for you to come home to Him. All you have to do is look up and say, "Help me Lord!" and He will come get you, like the Good Shepherd He is!
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:6-7
#4 Sheep are defenseless.
Without the care of the Shepherd, sheep don't stand a chance against wolves. Our "wolves" are the world around us with all its injustice and germs, all its temptations that want to pull our focus away from God, all of its empty promises of doing what feels right for you will make you happy....Listen:
If we don't have the Holy Spirit in our corner, we don't stand a chance. We need the strength of our Good Shepherd, His grace, mercy, guidance, and direction - on our own we are simply defenseless as sheep.
#5 Sheep are worthy.
Over two millennia ago, lots of people counted their wealth by how many sheep they owned. Sheep were valued and valuable! Sheep give meat and milk, produce lambs and wool, and people took great care to multiply and protect them. We may not feel worthy at times, yet Jesus chose to live a perfect, sinless life; die a horrible death; and rise again FOR US! He saw the price, and paid it all, for you and for me.
...knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19
#6 Sheep stick together.
When sheep flock together, they are safer. To be out there alone, away from the herd, is to face a high chance of getting lost, stuck, or...eaten by a wolf.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:10
Sheep were not created to go off of their own - and neither are we! We were created for community and to be under the care of a Shepherd. Where is YOUR community? Do you have a local Church? It is dangerous to wander away from the care of the flock and the Shepherd - Let me know if I can help you find a church family!
Jesus said in John 10:16, "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."
Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who will protect us, love us, lead us, and care for us. Now and Forever!
Praying this article encouraged you to dig deeper into God's Word, rest in His Truth and protection, and draw you closer to the One who gives and takes away.
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