When you stop and think about it, the analogy of sheep and shepherd is powerful. The Lord uses this analogy to describe people who came to believe in Him throughout the Bible. What does a shepherd’s purpose? A shepherd provides for, protects and guides his sheep.
The truth is, sheep are not all that bright. They are defenseless and a little dense, so they need to be completely cared for. You can’t just put a bunch of sheep out in the field and expect them to survive for very long. A favorite of many predatory carnivores, sheep must have protection. They tend to wander off without much thought of where they are or where they’re going or how to get back.
Look at verse 2:
2 “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.”
Sheep depend on the shepherd to lead them to where they can eat and drink. They need the shepherd to survive.
Look at the end of verse 4:
4 “Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
The shepherd rod was used to protect the sheep from bears or lions or even thieves. The rod was never used on the sheep, it was used on those who intended to harm his sheep. The staff was long and it had a hook on one end. This was used to guide the sheep in the way they should go. If one got out of line, the shepherd used the hook to pull them back in. If a sheep fell off a cliff, the shepherd could pull them back up with the staff.
So, when you think about how sheep need a shepherd to survive, think also about how we need the Lord to survive. We need Him to lead and guide us, lest we go astray on our own. We need Him to rescue us from our mistakes. We need Him to protect us from those who wish us harm.
I don’t mind being God’s sheep. We are His sheep and the people of His pasture. We have all we need. Our cups overflow with blessings and we will live in the house of the Lord forever.
It doesn’t get much better than that…