Psalm 23:1-2 tells us, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” The imagery of God as our shepherd brings to mind the care and love that is given to us on a daily basis. We are simple sheep and need constant supervision to keep us from harm.
Sheep are not very smart animals. Often in a flock, there is one sheep that wants to go its’ own way. It will see a patch of green grass across the canyon and will pursue that grass, even at great peril. The sheep will dive over a cliff to get to the grass on the other bank. It will fall to its death and other sheep will blindly follow.
In order to save the one and protect the flock, the shepherd would break the leg of the wayward sheep. He would carry the sheep until it had fully healed. During this time, the sheep is held by his keeper. He hears the heartbeat and feels the secure touch of the shepherd. By the time the leg is healed, the sheep no longer wanders off in search of greener pastures. He knows his shepherd’s voice. He loves his shepherd’s touch. He never wants to be too far away from his loving shepherd.
Aren’t we like that? Has God ever figuratively “broken your leg” to keep you close to Him? That time of trial forced you to sit down and trust that God would bring you through. You learned to listen to His voice. You learned to love His tender touch. That hardship of forced brokenness brought to a closer relationship with God! He knows that sometimes, we have to reach the end of our own resources in order to seek Him.
Have you ever thought about the phrase in Psalms about ‘still waters’? Did you know that sheep will die of thirst, before they will drink from a fast-moving stream or body of water? Sheep are too afraid to drink from the flowing stream. They will only drink if they are led to the still waters.
Sometimes, we are paralyzed by fear. We don’t know which way to turn and are afraid to do anything for fear of making the wrong choice. Our Shepherd wants to take us to the place where we can drink. He wants to nourish is with His Living Water and let us drink our fill. He wants to give us lasting and eternal life through Him. As sheep, we don’t have to understand the big picture. We don’t have even understood God. We are only expected to love and trust in His hand over our lives; that He will meet our needs and lead us out of trouble.