Just Sheep

Read:  Psalm 23
I’ve been thinking about sheep lately.  It would seem a strange subject to think about for someone who has no interest in, or knowledge about, sheep.  I’m not sure I’ve even seen a real live one.  When I think of sheep, I picture them white and fluffy and cute.  But I do know they come in colors.  At least two colors.  Everyone has heard of the “black sheep” when referring to those relatives who may not have a sterling reputation so I’m guessing there must be at least black and white sheep.
I did a little reading on sheep and found out a few things:
The Good:
*Have excellent memories and can remember individual sheep and humans for years.
*Like to be in a group.
*Friendly and form strong bonds with other sheep, goats and people.
The Not So Good:
*Followers—the herd will follow one single sheep into danger.
*Prone to wander off and become lost, even when all of their needs have been supplied.
*Defenseless in danger.  They don’t have any way to fight; no claws or talons, they can’t run fast, especially if their wool is long and wet, and they have no way to scare an attacker off with frightening sounds, like a roar or a vicious bark.
The Bible mentions sheep and shepherd 247 times.  I did not count them personally.  Hopefully the information I looked up was correct!  But it is a fact that the Bible talks about sheep a lot.  In fact we are called sheep!  Really.  Why can’t we be lions, tigers or bears?  Think about this:  lions, tigers and bears don’t need nor want someone to watch over and care for them.  God made them to be independent by giving them ways to fend for and protect themselves.
Sheep need a shepherd to care for them.  They will not survive on their own.  As much as we would like to think that we are self-sufficient, needing nothing and/or no one to help and guide us, it’s just not true.  We are sheep:  defenseless, wondering, following.  God knew that and in His great loving kindness, provided a Shepherd, His Son, Jesus.  We are made to follow Jesus and live under his protection.
In the above passage, we see a beautiful picture of a loving Shepherd.  He has provided all that is necessary for the physical needs of the sheep, clear clean water and lush green pastures.  He protects them when danger is near, guarding and comforting them with his rod and staff.  The Shepherd walks through the dark valley with them.  They are not left to fend for themselves during the darkest times in their journey.  With enemies watching from a distance, the Shepherd prepares a table for the sheep.  They may be watching, but they are powerless to interfere because of the presence of the Shepherd.
Embrace and enjoy the love of the Shepherd.  Follow Him.  Anything less will leave your life lacking peace, joy and the protection that only He can give.