There are so many intelligent creatures on this Earth.
There are dogs, who can sense emotion, lower a human’s blood pressure, and be trained to carry out tasks that seem completely unnatural to a canine. There are dolphins, who have their own intricate echolocation language and can even recognize themselves in a mirror. There are crows, thought to be one of the most clever animal species, who have the ability to do things like recognize human faces, construct tools, and even memorize stoplight patterns.
And then there are sheep, one of the dumbest creatures to roam the planet. They are literally unable to survive on their own without someone looking after them—they will wander straight off of a cliff and fall to their death.
Sheep cannot be trained like many other animals, even if the command is simply for them to stay in a designated area. They have no defensive mechanism—no sharp teeth, no claws or talons, no powerful limbs to fend off predators.
They aren’t even agile in the least, so running away is not an option. When confronted by a threat, sheep literally flock together and run in circles, hoping that the predator will pick off any of the other helpless sheep. Both fight and flight are out of the question, so sheep are left defenseless on their own.
This is where the role of a shepherd comes into play. It is the full responsibility of a shepherd to lead their sheep to a safe grazing area, protect them from other animals, keep them from feeding on poisonous plants, and make sure they do not wander off from the flock.
As humans, we are similar to sheep in so many ways. We think we can do everything on our own, go our own direction, and protect ourselves against the evils of this world. But in fact, we are completely powerless without a higher power to look after us and provide us guidance.
The sheep is the most mentioned animal in the Bible—this is especially ironic because 99 percent of the time the creature is referenced, it is being used as a metaphor for human beings. If we truly are like sheep, then the Lord must be our shepherd.
Psalm 23:1-3 states “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”
Scripture clearly tells us many times throughout the Bible that even if we think we are capable of dictating our own fate, we are ultimately defenseless and adrift without the Lord in our life. Just as a shepherd is willing to lay it all on the line to protect his flock, Jesus laid down his life so that we could be forgiven of our sins.
John 10:11-14 states “He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
As humans, we are so guilty of being led astray by the voices of mundane things, such as the desire to place our focus on the internet, our social status, or binge-watching Netflix. Just as sheep know the sound of their shepherd’s voice and will follow him wherever he may lead, God’s children should constantly be wary so that they are able to recognize the voice of the Lord.