All we, like sheep, have gone astray;
we have turned — everyone — to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Sheep need a leader. They don’t always stay close to their Shepherd. Often sheep will go to green pastures willingly enough, but when the grass looks greener somewhere else, they are quick to meander outside the fences.
Often we can draw a parallel between our lives and that of sheep. We willingly follow Jesus when things are going well, or when we like what is happening in our lives. But then sometimes our own stubborn will takes over and we don’t listen to the Good Shepherd’s voice. It is at those times we fall into sin or temptation. We ignore the path God has laid out for us. In the end like a lost sheep, we fall into danger or hurt ourselves on the path we have chosen. We ignore the Shepherd’s voice and wander off the beaten path.
We can be thankful that the Good Shepherd is patient with our failings. He takes the staff in His hand and pulls us back into His care. Sometimes He even carries us upon His shoulders to get us there. We don’t want to be like the sheep, who, when left unattended, wander with no sense of finding their way back to the sheepfold. Nor do we want to be like the sheep who find the hole in the fence and wander away, often to their own demise. Sheep can be so desperate to find greener grass that they stick their necks through the fence and cut themselves or even get strangled.
We need to remind ourselves not to be like sheep who have gone astray looking for loopholes, looking for greener grass, and eager to wander off the path chosen for them by the shepherd. The Good Shepherd wants us to listen to His voice, and that means submitting to the boundaries He sets in our best interests. When we become wayward, our lives will be in danger of death.
People like sheep need a good Shepherd to rescue them. Thanks be to God that He has done this for us. Each one of us has often gone our own way and rebelled. God, in His grace, takes care of us once again. He has given us the Good Shepherd who takes away our sin. The LORD has laid all our sin on Jesus’ shoulders and He carried it to the cross. He willingly gave His life for His straying sheep.
The Lamb of God forgives our sins and covers all our shame.
When we wander to our own way, we should reflect long on the beautiful words from Isaiah 53:6.
And then, with gratitude, remember that Jesus came to save the lost sheep.