From Shepherd to Sheep

Friday, Sept. 19

No doubt you’ve heard a number of sermons on Psalm 23. It is probably one of the most beloved passages of Scripture. Yet, just like the rest of Scripture, there is never an end to learning more. I learned more in a recent sermon by Rob Buhl. David was a shepherd. He knew just about everything a person could know about sheep. They are helpless. They can’t defend themselves, and they are easy prey for wild animals. They can’t swim, and are afraid of running water. In fact, if they were immersed in water, their wool would take on water to the point they would sink and drown. They go astray and are dumb enough to get caught in briars and apparently unaware of carnivorous animals. If they manage to fall and end up on their backs, they can’t turn over and get to their feet. Left in this position they would die of thirst or starvation. They can’t be herded like cows; they need to be led. In short, they probably would not survive without being cared for. Knowing all this, David deliberately takes the role of a sheep before God, whom he acknowledges as his Shepherd. He places himself in a totally humble position before God, recognizing his helplessness to take care of his own life. What an example! No wonder God loved him—despite his gross failures. My name is David and I am honored to carry the name—which means “beloved” by the way. I don’t think I’m in King David’s elite company yet. Yes, I’m a gross sinner, too, though I’ve not had an encounter with Bathsheba. And I haven’t killed a Goliath, either. Sheep are not very smart, but they’re smart enough to realize they are in the hands of a good shepherd. That’s exactly the amount of “smarts” that I need.

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