SHEEP BEING SHEEP
There are few animals more simple, vulnerable, and dependent than sheep. Being dumb, slow, clumsy, and unintimidating they need constant protection and provision, guidance and reassurance.
“But he led forth his own people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock” (Psalm 78:52).
“As for you, my sheep, the sheep of my pasture…” (Ezekiel 34:31).
“Seeing the people, [Jesus] felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
“For you were continually straying like sheep…” (1 Peter 2:25).
Us? Sheep? Ouch. (If you need more convincing, check out John 10!)
Why wouldn’t God liken his people to mighty lions, powerful bears, noble wolves, loyal dogs, or majestic elephants?
Probably because we, as humans left to ourselves, are none of those things. We’re not mighty, powerful, noble, loyal, or majestic. Conversely, we are needy and vulnerable, lowly and flighty, ignorant and prone to wander.
Understanding and accepting our reality is foundational for believers because, just as a sheep denying its sheep-ness and wandering away from its shepherd is not brave but stupid, so is a Christian pretending to be something other than the fluffy, baa-ing animal they are.
This is a call for dependant, humble, and faithful submission to the great Shepherd. This is a call to throw away all pretence of human cleverness and ingenuity and, instead, to commit to doing God’s work—within ourselves and within our churches—God’s way, by his power and for his glory.
Here’s to sheep being sheep.
My name is Josiah. I’m a husband to one, a father to four, and a pastor to a wonderful congregation in the Greater Toronto Area.