IN NEED OF A SHEPHERD?
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us have turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)
Researchers studying intelligence in domestic animals agree that the dumbest of all animals is the turkey. These fowls are probably the source of the saying of “being too dumb to come in out of the rain” as they have been known to drown while gazing up with their beaks agape during a rainstorm. There is wide agreement that the second dumbest animal is probably the sheep, their IQ level ranks down there in the single digits. Besides that, even though sheep have no natural defenses, they seem unable to identify dangerous situations. They do not have claws or sharp teeth. They can’t climb trees to escape their enemies or squirt “mace” like a skunk. They have no mighty roar to frighten away attackers and no armored plate like the armadillo, who isn’t too far up on the intelligence scale either, in other words they are helpless but even worse they do not recognize that they are at risk. Yet the Bible in at least two- dozen places compares us to sheep. Are we being insulted or is it a “just” comparison?
Let’s consider the evidence: stated in the above-cited verse is “We all, like sheep, have gone astray…” Even though we have greater intelligence than our four legged friends, our God-given freedom of choice often results in our making wrong choices and ending up in a “lost condition”. However, at that point we, unlike sheep, can invite Him back into our lives and thereby find our way home.
A story is told of a shepherd who came upon two coyotes that had stealth fully crept right into the middle of the flock. They had killed a lamb and were eating it. The other sheep just stood around watching them. They didn’t know the danger. They’re stupid! Surely we would be wise enough to flee from danger. However, recent statistics on the rise in alcohol and/or drug abuse at both ends of the age spectrum question our wisdom in recognizing danger. Salvation is available but often its call is ignored, as we, like sheep, do not recognize the need for it to overcome the dangers of this world and secure the promise
Maybe comparing us to sheep is actually an insult to the sheep because even though we seem wiser, we often find ourselves in similar quandaries. We get involved in situations that are quite easily avoidable if we would choose to be led by the Good Shepherd and not insisting upon going off in our own directions.