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. I just watched a movie where a flock of sheep led by a crazy dog jumped off of a cliff.
This psalm written by David, has a bit of 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 great loss , or dreams dashed. 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. However, when the sheep walked away and tried to do things on their own, trouble came, as they often walked away from their best interests.
In this psalm, David doesn’t focus on the stupidity of sheep. He focuses on who the sheep follow. 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 these sheep might be smarter than most.
How else can you and I face life with confidence, but with the Lord leading us? 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 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.
My prayer is that I might be as smart as a smart sheep. They are not so dumb after all.