That makes us the “sheeple.”
Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd….”
The role of the shepherd is a prominent theme in the Bible, both old and new testaments. It is used as a picture of how the Lord takes care of His people, and is found often in the Psalms. David, the shepherd-king, was a model of the coming Christ who would shepherd and rule His people. Shepherding is a model used by Christ to describe His relationship to His true followers, His “sheep.”
To understand the shepherding function of Christ among us, we must understand the nature of sheep. Shepherding the flock of God only makes sense when one understands who we are as His flock, the sheep of His pasture.
What is it about sheep that our God uses them to describe us?
- Hapless, thoughtless.
- Helpless, feckless.
- Unaware and usually preoccupied with themselves in the moment.
And above all, sheep are willful – the biggest issue to know when shepherding sheep. They take all of their hapless, thoughtless, feckless helplessness and wrap it up in their own stubborn willfulness.
- Preoccupied with what they want, which is almost always eating.
- Head down, unaware, following the grass, with no regard for surroundings
- They consume their way through their day, following their noses through fences, into trouble and danger, and in open country getting lost.
- There are leaders among the sheep, and if not controlled these will lead the sheep astray. The flock will follow a leader into great trouble.
Sound familiar? Sheep are a near perfect picture of the human condition and human nature. The Lord said so in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to our own way.” He uses sheep to describe us in other passages:
Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
1 Peter 2:24-25 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”
We, like sheep, are incurably prone to going astray. On our own we are helpless, and hopelessly willful and stubborn. We will always go our own way. We “the sheeple” are, as our God said, like sheep. We are hapless, feckless, helpless, unaware of the reality in which we live and preoccupied with our selves most of the time.
Religiosity will feed our stubborn self-determination as we try to apprehend our God on our own terms. That is why our man-made religion is ineffective in bringing us near to our God. It is always our own attempts, individually and collectively, to apprehend our God on our own terms.
“On our terms” is the problem. Even in our efforts to “live for God,” we are operating on our own terms. This self-assertion is why we as individuals struggle with sin. On the corporate level, this self-assertion is why we have 2000 Christian denominations, which is something we think is okay with our God.
In the next blog post we will explore more about sheep, shepherds, and sheeple.
Image via JooInn.com