Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize Scripture.  This week’s verses are Isaiah 53:5,6.

Isaiah utilizes a picture of sheep going astray to describe the spiritual condition of the people.
Why does the bible, and even Jesus Himself, often use sheep as an example of people?  Because it was something relevant to their times, and also something that the listeners could easily identify with.  But, also because there are so many similarities between sheep and people!
What causes sheep to stray, as pictured here in Is. 53:6?  What causes them to wander?  What causes us to stray?  Why are people so driven to wander ?
Why is our society so filled with people bouncing from one relationship to another?  Why are some so prone to wander from career to career?  Why are people prone to move from one place to another?  What causes young people – even many adults – to wander through life so aimlessly… straying from good homes and wonderful opportunities, abandoning all for alcohol, drugs, one-night stands, etc.?
It is either because we have no shepherd… or because we have drifted too far away from our shepherd.
Why do we need a shepherd?  Why do sheep need a shepherd?

–  A Shepherd Is Needed For Provision.

David describes this in Ps. 23: “I shall not want… He makes me lie down in green pastures… He leads me beside still waters….”
A hungry, ill-fed sheep is always on its feet… it is restless… on the move, continually searching for another mouthful to satisfy its hunger.  In the same way, sheep that are thirsty become restless… and search for water to satisfy their thirst.  if there is no shepherd to lead them to a clean water source, they will drink from polluted potholes.
People are the same.  The Lord wants to be our shepherd; He wants to be the bread for our spiritual famine; He wants to be the water that quenches out spiritual drought.

–  A Shepherd Is Needed For Protection

Why do we drift?  Why do we stray?  Why so unsettled?

You’ve possibly sung the hymn that includes these lines: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love…

The Lord wants to be our Shepherd… to alleviate our fears… to bring order to chaos… to bring solutions to stress.
Sheep by their very nature are anxious creatures; they are timid… easily aggravated.  Does that sound like any humans you know?
If there is the slightest sense of danger, sheep are ready to flee at the slightest movement.  Fleeing is their only means of escape.  They are otherwise pretty defenseless.  Like sheep, people sometimes feel the only way out is to run… to hide.
Yet, the very presence of the shepherd in the fields with the sheep is enough to calm them.  They are aware of his presence… they sense his love… they know he will take care of them.
Consider our Good Shepherd, and His love for us!  He is willing to lay down His life to deliver and defend the sheep!

–  A Shepherd Is Needed For Peace.

Sheep, because of their make-up, will not lie down until 4 conditions are met:
1)  Freedom from Fear
2)  Freedom from Pests
3)  Free from Hunger
4)  Free from Friction

Those needs must be met before a sheep finds peace enough to lie down.  Sheep are continuously in conflict.  Sheep seem to always be on edge… tense… disoriented… restless.  They lose weight and become irritable.
But the very appearance of the shepherd will cause the sheep to quickly forget their foolish fighting… to quit their rivalries.

We live in a world filled with violence and unrest.  There is contention.  There is strife.  There is war.
Why?  The major problem is we need the presence of the shepherd to help us resolve our conflicts; those within us and those outside.
Negotiations won’t do it.  Peace conferences won’t do it.
A right relationship with God is the only answer.

Are you trusting God for His provision?  For His protection?  For His peace?

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