All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved. Isaiah 53:6 (CEV)

Jesus wants each of us to know two things, we are all sheep and we’ve all wandered. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a major company or a Single parent living in low-income housing. You are a sheep. It doesn’t matter if you are a teen struggling to get through school or a leading professor in a major university, you are a sheep. It doesn’t matter if you have a bank-roll the size of Rhode Islandor are unemployed and living on welfare and food stamps, you are a sheep. It doesn’t matter if you are on your sixth marriage (and it’s in trouble) or are celebrating your 75th wedding anniversary with your high school sweetheart, you are a sheep.

Before you conjure up in your minds the picture of a cute little lamb drinking from a bottle and looking all cute and cuddly, take a look at some sheep facts.

  • Sheep have to have a leader to follow. Experiments with sheep have shown that usually one sheep is the dominant one. If that sheep is taken from the flock and the sheep are sent out to the same pasture they’ve gone to a thousand times, they will become confused. Some will lie down. Others will wander aimlessly or simply stand in one place and not know what to do.
  • Sheep are crowd followers. They rarely think for themselves. They’d just as soon have someone else do that for them. As long as they are fed and comfortable they are happy.
  • Sheep become very stressed with change and when separated from their friends. When danger comes they tend to panic and flee in different directions without thought of the consequences.
  • Sheep tend to be closest to those who are ‘related’ to them and don’t interact well with sheep ‘of another color’ so to speak.
  • Although not considered intelligent at all, sheep do tend to remember faces and voices very well and can differentiate between a familiar voice and an unfamiliar voice.

Consider, for a moment how many times we react like sheep in our daily lives, in our relationships with others and with God and during times of stress. Remember…we are ALL sheep.

Secondly, we have all wandered away. When I was young I remember hearing testimonies of men and women who had been delivered from the most horrendous lifestyle imaginable. I often wished that I could have a great testimony like that. One that speaks of God’s deliverance from terrible things. Of course, since then I’ve learned two things. One is that I’ve made enough blunders of my own to qualify. Secondly, in God’s eyes we are all sheep (have I mentioned that?) and we have all wandered. It doesn’t matter where we’ve wandered or how far or why. We have all wandered away from God. We all have stories of his deliverance.

It’s no wonder then that Jesus refers to himself as the good shepherd. The good shepherd knows the struggles sheep have. He knows they depend on him for protection, guidance and companionship. He knows their ways and they know his voice. Even though we, as sheep, wander we have a good shepherd who constantly looks after us to guide comfort and forgive.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Thank you for being the good shepherd. Thank you for forgiving me, being patient when I wander and seeking me out when I stray. Help me to follow your voice and not the other voices. In your name, Amen.