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“All we like Sheep…” Isaiah 53:6
Did you know that sheep are afraid of drinking running water? It’s true. They aren’t even aware that they even need water. In fact, you can often find them grazing right next to a beautiful river, or babbling creek, dehydrated and sluggish, with no thought or intention of taking a refreshing drink. Why? They are afraid of running water, it makes them skittish, nervous. Oh, they will drink still water, stagnant and harmful, but not clean and refreshing water. The Shepherd, knowing this, will dam up the water to slow it down or “still” it so that the sheep will drink. “…He leads me beside the STILL waters…” Psalm 23:2
The Shepherd will watch over each one making sure they drink. Sometimes, he takes his crook (long pole, with one end in the shape of a hook) and gently pulls the little lamb’s neck to water to get nourishment.
We touched on this last week in Part 1 that sheep have a natural tendency to follow a leader. Any attempt to drive a flock of sheep will only make them scatter. They are social animals and like to travel in a flock or herd. Since they cannot defend themselves, they rely on “strength in numbers”. However, as they follow their Shepherd and become familiar with his voice, they tend to stay within a safe distance, hopefully. Are you seeing a pattern here?
As we stay within God’s nearness, we come to know His voice as He knows ours. Becoming familiar with our Good Shepherd’s voice is so important on many levels. We learn to listen to His gentle leading, staying in His will (safety, comfort, peace, faith, spiritual nourishment). All the good “feels”. I’m sure you have many more advantages to add in here. “Faith comes by hearing...the word of God” Romans 10:17
Just like sheep, we tend to stray from time to time, leaving that protective “bubble” and finding ourselves listening to other voices, ungodly words. Other ideas that only bring us hardship, pain, fear, no longer believing in our Good Shepherd’s promise to us. “…I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
God did not move. He is still patiently walking in and through our lives, never leaving, never giving up on us. It is us, straying (lost) sheep…unhappy, scared, lonely, living out a miserable life. But at any moment, we can decide to turn around and go back to our Good Shepherd. It is our choice, our free will to do so. Oh how we must strive to live out our lives in the nearness and fullness of God.
Next week, we will continue our study with Part 3 of “All We Like Sheep…” (I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am!)