They were mere specks out in the field. A scattered group of sheep grazing in a pasture of green. With the help of his dogs, the shepherd gathered the sheep in. They milled around somewhat anxiously, keeping watch on the dogs out of the corner of their eyes. But as the dogs lay down to rest, although ever alert, the sheep quieted and settled. Then, the shepherd was able to take a look and determine what was needed for his sheep.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Psalm 95:6-7 (NIV)
So come, let us worship: bow before him, on your knees before God, who made us! Oh yes, he’s our God, and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds. Psalm 95:6-7 (MSG)
The analogy of sheep does not always make sense in my head. I’ve never been a shepherd. I doubt I’ll ever have much contact with sheep except to look at them from a distance. They’re not pretty and cuddly like the drawings of them in the picture books. The ones I’ve encountered have been somewhat scruffy, wool matted with twigs and dirt. They’ve needed care – someone to look after them and attend to their needs. Food and water matter a lot. The shepherd has always been on the lookout to make sure there is enough. While he’s managing sheep, the shepherd is also maintaining his pasture ensuring that the sheep do not clip the grass so much that it will not rejuvenate and grow again.
Upon consideration, I am so much like a sheep. I am not always pretty and cuddly. There are parts of me that are downright unpresentable. Thoughts and attitudes of the heart that need redeeming and rescuing by my Shepherd. I am constantly in need of care. I crave the love and affection the Lord lavishes on me. He uses other people too. My learners, family, and friends – every blessing of love that flows my way is a gift from my God’s hand. His care is tender and sure. I need sustenance. Food and water to nourish my body. But, also, the food and water of God’s word and the community of believers who build me up and encourage me. I cannot thrive on my own. I need others. While my God is caring for me, He is also preparing the way for me. Guiding me along the path. Leading me to know Him deeper and love Him more. Giving me insights into myself that lead me closer to Him.
I desperately need a shepherd. I am so grateful my Lord shepherds me. Living in the flock under His care is a beautiful place to be.