Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Straying Sheep

My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths. Isaiah 3:12 (NASB)

For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion. Isaiah 9:16 (NASB)

Confused people crowded into the theater in Ephesus (Acts 19). Loud shouts lured them inside and most had no understanding why. They simply followed others into a den of disorder. Imagine the mayhem in a building smoldering with mob mentality. 

The truth is—confusion leads to uncertainty leads to doubt leads to disorder leads to upheaval leads to turmoil leads to a muddled mess. Everything around screams chaos and bewildering thoughts ask, “Where am I? How did I get here?” 

And God answers through Isaiah declaring, “all of us like sheep have gone astray, turning to our own way.” We wander like lost sheep, confused and misled. We need a loving Shepherd to guide us onto the right path. 

The Bible tells us we have a Shepherd—it’s a favored attribute of God. While Jesus lived on earth, He demonstrated the characteristics of a merciful and gracious shepherd. He even told parables about lost sheep and a devoted shepherd, a prodigal son and a loving father—these stories He used to illustrate our human nature and His divine character. If God is so good and loving to us, then why don’t we follow Him? 

Answers exist in the comparison of humans and sheep. As you read the following description of sheep and their actions, consider the similarities we humans share with sheep. 

  1. Sheep are smart. It’s been stated that sheep are dumb, but some of their qualities have  proven their intelligence. (I don’t think our Savior would compare us to dumb animals, after all He created us in His image. And yet He gave us free will, therefore our choices.)
  2. Sheep instinctively react to situations.
  3. Sheep follow other sheep. 
  4. Sheep flock together because they’re social animals.
  5. Sheep have good memories.
  6. Sheep are prey instead of predators and flee instead of fight. They are defenseless and panic because of fear. 
  7. Sheep have keep senses, making them aware of predators.
  8. Sheep have a high tolerance for pain, preventing vulnerability to predators.
  9. Sheep run from danger, and may congregate in large numbers for protection.
  10. Sheep need a shepherd because they are directionless and wander, unless in a pack.
  11. Sheep wander when food is scarce, well-fed sheep don’t wander.
  12. Sheep follow the hand that feeds them.
  13. Sheep get restless and are tormented by bugs; if bugs go undetected, they multiply and cause blindness.
  14. Sheep are helpless if they fall down; they need a shepherd’s help. When a sheep is cast down, it’s possibly due to a a heavy coat needing to be sheared. Everything a sheep comes in contact with (dirt, filth, burrs, sticks, bugs, etc.) attaches to the oil, or lanolin, on a sheep’s wool and weighs it down. Even though shearing is hard work for both sheep and shepherd, it frees up the sheep of all the stuff clinging to its fur. 
  15. Sheep are great followers. They know their master’s voice—they recognize their shepherd by the sound of his voice. 

Wow! Spiritual depth resides in these facts. No wonder Jesus told a parable about lost sheep. They wander, follow, and fear—so do we. Their fur picks up dirt and junk—our eyes and ears pick up filth if we’re not focused on our Father God. Bugs torment them and cause blindness, if undetected—the garbage we allow into our hearts and minds will blind us to God’s Truth. Shearing away their wool and all the stuff in it cleans and frees them up—allowing God to clean us will free us of the chains that bind. Wow again. 

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. Psalm 119:67 (NASB)

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments. Psalm 119:176 (NASB)

We definitely need a Shepherd to guide us. Thankfully we have one and His name is Jesus Christ. He offered His life for us. He’s given His Word to us. When we read His Word and meditate on its meaning for us, He fills us with His Holy Spirit. When we drop to our knees and cry out to Him, He hears and answers us. When we offer thanksgiving and praise in the midst of storms and fear, He blesses us with His strength and peace. In other words, when we are well-fed on the Word of our Heavenly Father, we will not wander away from Him. The only hunger we’ll experience is the desire for more of Him. Sound a little like sheep?

We are like sheep gone astray, but like sheep we know our Shepherd’s voice. He created us, He loves us, and He calls out to us. Are we listening so as to follow Him? Or are we wandering away because of distractions we’ve allowed into our lives? It’s our choice; He gave us free will. What will we choose? 

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.

He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord. Psalm 23 (AMP)

Lord God, You are my Savior and Shepherd. You bought me with a price, the price of your life’s blood poured out in loving sacrifice. If you would die for me, how can I doubt your Presence with me everyday? You said You are Immanuel, God with us. You are a God of promise. You guarantee Your Word in all aspects of my life. You are the God of covenant and commitment.

Then why do I doubt? Why do I look anywhere else but to You? Because I’m easily led when excitement walks by. Because I follow the latest fads when everyone is doing it. Because I listen to the sounds of satisfaction when someone pricks my ears with my own desires, giving the  loudest voice my attention. Because I don’t understand commitment, a long-lasting oath. Frequently I choose the easy way out. I don’t want to work for it. I just want to do what I want to do. I won’t hurt anyone. Why do I need to follow any rules?

And suddenly my selfish desires have taken me where I didn’t think I would go. I’m walking in a direction unknown to me. What am I doing? I’m lost and alone. Help me, God! Come quickly, Lord. I need You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (HCSB)

For more information on sheep, go to

May these versions of the same hymn bless you with peace and joy - "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us".........


  1. I love all of these facts about sheep. I did not know all of these, well I had not thought about these facts in this way. It has opened up my understanding of Jesus' teaching and my place as I follow Him. Thanks Debbie for this rich lesson.

    1. Hoping it gives us all a deeper understanding of ourselves and our Savior! Thank you for your encouragement, Johnnie!

  2. Wonderful post. Great minds think alike, I just posted a piece about sheep also.

    1. Thanks so much. I'll check it out. We are definitely sheep who need a Shepherd.