Sheep are anxious creatures frightened by anything that moves – even running water! They wander into danger, lose their footing and tumble down rocky inclines or walk right off of cliffs. They have such a poor sense of smell that they’ll drink poisonous water and eat poisonous plants without sensing the danger. They often don’t learn from their mistakes either, getting into the same trouble again and again.
Sheep need a loving Shepherd.
David writes about his in Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.Psalm 23
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside waters that don’t run,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley of death,
I will fear no evil…
Surely your goodness and LOVE will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
David, a brilliant and powerful king…still knows he needs a Shepherd. We all do.
The Shepherd gives rest and food, soothes anxiety beside still waters. The Shepherd provides.
The Shepherd leads down safe paths, keeping us from wandering off and getting hurt. The Shepherd protects.
When Becky and I were in Israel, we watched a shepherd and his little flock. The sun was setting. If he didn’t leave the pasture soon it would be too dangerous to lead his sheep through the darkness. He would have to keep them in a nearby cave all night.
These caves are dotted all over Israel. They serve as “sheep pens.” The entrance to the pen is blocked by stones forming a short wall the sheep can’t climb over. A shepherd brings his flock into the pen through an opening in the wall and then he sits in that opening all night to keep the sheep in and the predators out. The shepherd becomes the “gate.”
David believes one day the good Shepherd will come to earth to protect and provide for all people. He will call himself the Gate (John 10:9-11) and lay himself down as the only way into everlasting life and the only One who can keep out death.