“And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.”
The sheep wandered and came to a field with very green grass. The glimmering blades of grass shifted and waved in the gentle breeze like a beckoning hand. “Surely this is good,” thought the sheep, and he continued on, grazing as he went. “No better grass have I tasted! I shall stay here, no more travelling for me!” The sheep did stay and was very content, until one day, while deep in the grassy field, the sheep stepped into a hole.
Bleating and trying to get out, the sheep stepped into another hole, and yet another. Before long, two legs were broken.
“Whatever shall I do?” the sheep cried. Looking around, what once was a grassy field was now only a barren, pitted wasteland. “How will I get out?” The shepherd, hearing the cries, came to rescue the sheep.
After a while the sheep saw a stream, a stream so clear and full of music, as the water passed over many rocks and pebbles. Prancing, the sheep came closer. The stream rippled like encouraging curled fingers, come drink, come drink, your thirst will be fulfilled. “Now this is what I’ve needed,” thought the sheep. “And this isn’t a grassy field. I’ve learned my lesson.” Thirsty, the sheep took a drink. “No better water have I had,” thought the sheep. “I will stay. This must be the place I’ve really been looking for.” Ignoring another voice, the sheep stayed for quite a while until all of a sudden, the thirsty dry land around the stream soaked up all the water. No more water, no more bubbling music. Once again, while looking around at a now dusty, dry land, the sheep bleated, and thought, “Whatever shall I do”? Once again, the shepherd showed the way out.
Not long after, the sheep was on top of a hill where he could see for miles around, no matter which direction he looked. “Look at all the choices I can make!” thought he. “But I don’t want to choose the grass or the stream because they hurt me.” Looking about some more, the sheep saw many trees, ones that could provide shade from the heat of the day. “Aha,” thought the sheep, “that’s where I’ll go.” The rustling leaves tantalizing song reached the sheep’s ears. Ignoring a still, small voice and not seeing the thorny thicket by the trees, the sheep ambled to the trees and rested in the shade and slept. Later on the sheep awoke with a start and tried to move. The more the sheep moved, the more tangled he got. The nearby thorny thicket had encompassed him. “I can’t even chew my way out!” said the sheep in a panic.
How many times, like the sheep, will we continue to go our own way and ignore the calling of the Lord or not see His hand in our lives? How many times will He be calling out to no avail? When will we truly turn our lives to Christ and live for Him and truly listen to His voice? How many hard lessons will we need to learn?
Hear the call of repentance and turn away from that which is wrong or seemingly good in our sight. We should be like Joshua and truly be able to say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) We should hear the voice that says, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5) We should be able to say, as David did, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1). Jesus Christ is the good shepherd (John 10:11) and he will never leave nor forsake His flock.