Lynne M. Baab talks about us being God's sheep. I have to admit, I don't like the thought of being a sheep. I watched Babe you know. I know sheep are the stupidest creatures on earth. That's offensive that is. Also: There's a certain political extreme that likes to call anybody who doesn't agree with them "sheep"... (Which is funny considering how unthinkingly they follow their leadership... But that's a discussion for another time. (I promise, I'll pray for them.)) But then I thought about it a bit more. Well, maybe as a people we are not so smart as all that really. I mean we do expend a lot of effort and energy on trying to be happy. Generally by trying to acquire more stuff. Mostly we believe we have to keep working at it, hard, until we achieve that happiness. So... maybe not so smart. And if that's the case, then maybe having a wise and wonderful shepherd is not such a bad thing. God as our shepherd will lead us to green pastures... (I know, there's another Psalm about that and we covered it...)
Perhaps if we really were sheep, then we wouldn't be quite so destructive as a species. At least if we would follow a wise and wonderful shepherd we wouldn't be.
I know the following is primarily a western problem: maybe if we were to be more attuned to following and letting the shepherd take care of our needs, rather than constantly trying to "lead" people into doing things our way, pushing and shoving to establish ourselves... Maybe we could finally find some of that happiness we struggle so hard to find. Maybe we'd find peace.
Another thought about this Psalm: The biblical people (and maybe that's precisely why they were chosen) were perpetually going their own way and screwing up.
For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”And yet, time and again God relented, forgave and bestowed his grace. Even going as far as to give us God's only Son. For those of us (not you, reading this, I'm sure) who are perpetual screw ups: that's some strong comfort!
Questions for reflection:
- In what ways do you resist viewing yourself as a sheep?
- See above: sheep are not creatures to be emulated. Specially in a society that prizes self-reliance and go-geterness.
- In what ways do you enjoy thinking of yourself as a sheep in God’s hand?
- It might be nice to just let go and let God take care of everything.
- It would be good to have the faith to allow confidence in God. To allow Peace to come.