“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isa. 53:6).
The Bible was written in a rural setting that some of us city folks have trouble understanding. Some of you, including myself, have found books like Phillip Keller’s “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm” to be helpful. Keller is a shepherd. He explains why sheep need more attention and care than any other livestock.
If left to themselves sheep will follow the same trails until they become ruts. They will graze the same hills until they become a desert waste. They will pollute their own ground until it becomes corrupt with disease and parasites. They will paw roots out of the soil leading to erosion. They will literally ruin the land without a shepherd.
People display this same destructive self-determination. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12). It never ceases to amaze me how many ways people have found to destroy their lives. Our culture is going out of their way to find ways to corrupt their lives. It makes you cringe to consider the consequences of calling “evil good and good evil” (Isa. 5:20). People live in the pollution they’ve created. They are “inventors of evil.” Everyone is wise in their own eyes.
Keller speaks of “cast” sheep. A sheep will lay down and will end up rolling over on their back. Their feet are in the air. They flail. They can’t get up. If it’s a hot day they can die in hours. They are helpless prey to buzzards, dogs, coyotes, cougars or other predators. If the shepherd doesn’t arrive their future is hopeless. Ironically, even the largest, strongest, fattest, healthiest sheep can be cast. “All of us”. “All we.” It gives us fuller understanding of Jesus’ perspective; “And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt. 9:36).
How blessed to be sheep of the “great shepherd” (Heb. 13:20), “the good shepherd” (Jn. 10:14), Jesus Christ.