Decisions, decisions, decisions. It seems everywhere we turn, they are waiting to be made. Often times we are left wondering and second-guessing ourselves about some of the ones we made. Life would be wonderful if we had a sure-fire way of knowing how to make the right choices. We try to do the best we can with the information we have, using our God-given wisdom to assess situations and trust the Lord that everything will turn out the way they should.
Sheep do not have that ability. Not being the smartest of animals, they also have no sense of direction. In his book The Healing Power of the Twenty-Third Psalm, Charles Allen writes, “The sheep has very poor eyes. It cannot see 10 or 15 yards ahead. Palestinian fields were covered with narrow paths over which the shepherds led their sheep to pasture. Some of these paths led to a precipice over which the simple sheep might fall to its death. Other paths lead up a blind alley. But some paths lead to green pastures and still waters. The sheep followed the shepherd, knowing they were walking in the right path.” What does that have to do with us? I am glad you asked.
When we come to the LORD we become His sheep and He becomes our Shepherd. In a sense, we take on the characteristic of the sheep. Trying to navigate the Christian walk is filled with various challenges and dangers. There are many paths that seem to be the right ones yet we are reminded that “there is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12, NLT). The decisions we make along these paths are potential life and death decisions spiritually, and to use our secular abilities to live the Christian life is like trying to walk blindfolded across a busy roadway. We need the guidance of the Shepherd if we are to make it home safely.
Because of his experience as a shepherd boy, the psalmist David was fully aware of the sheep’s vulnerabilities. Putting himself in its place, he was acutely aware of his reliance on the LORD, His Shepherd, to lead [guide, direct] him and so it was with confidence in God’s ability that he says, “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3b, KJV). Notice the words “He leadeth me” because it affirms who is in charge; the sheep doesn’t attempt to go ahead of the Shepherd. Also, to be righteous is to be in right standing with God. Not only will He lead us, being the one in charge, but He will do so in and along the pathways that are pleasing to Him.
So as we acknowledge our reliance upon Him to make it through this world successfully, despite the odds, let us remember the words of Solomon, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, The Amplified). What decisions do you have to make? Trust the leading of the Shepherd. He knows the way; our job is to follow Him.