Summary: Psalm 23
Are You A Good Sheep?
As I look at each of you, I want you to know that I believe in my heart that each of you are stupid. I will explain why I feel this way later. This morning I want to pose a question to you for you to consider. You do not have to tell me your answer, but I want you to really answer it truthfully within yourself. The question is this, “Are You A Good Sheep?” In John the 10th chapter, Jesus said that He was the Shepherd and we are His sheep. This morning I want you to consider whether or not you are a “good sheep”. Most of you have heard the term “the black sheep or the bad sheep of the family.” This term when referencing a sheep, was given to that sheep that was not into conforming or following the rules. That sheep believed that it knew better or had the “right” to follow its own path. When this term is used to describe an individual, it generally refers to that person who is “different” from the rest of the family. He’s the troublemaker, the non-conformist, and the one who follows his own path versus someone else’s. When you consider whether or not you are a good sheep, the focus should be on one area, your ability to follow.
During the messages on faith, I shared with you that your faith is based on what you know of God through His Word. However, it does not end there. With that acceptance, you must choose to obey His Word and that leads me to my earlier question, “Are you a good sheep?”
I. Understanding Sheep
I have shared with you before the characteristics of sheep. Generally sheep are considered to be very stupid. They are so timid that blowing paper in the wind will cause them to flee and storms will send them into a panic. If they fall into water, they will drown without even fighting and they will burn in a fire without trying to run away because they are so tightly gripped by fear. If they fall over on their backs, they cannot get up because of the weight of the wool. All of these characteristics of sheep make them prime targets for attacks by wolves and other predators. These same characteristics also make them totally dependant on their shepherd. Now let’s consider what one would call “the black sheep”. This sheep refuses to follow the shepherd. This sheep does not believe that it must depend on the shepherd for its needs. This sheep can often be found wandering away from the rest of the flock seeking its own food or to just satisfy it curiosity. The black sheep does not want to conform. Later I will share with you the extent that shepherds have gone through to teach the “black sheep” to learn how to depend on him. But this is the sheep, timid, scared animals who are totally dependant on their shepherd.
It is very easy to see why a man would not want to be compared to a sheep. I mean think of these traits, being stupid, timid, scared easily, not able to take care of ourselves, susceptible to predator attacks and not being able to defend ourselves. To be defined to a sheep can be offensive to some, yet Jesus said we are His sheep. If this is the case and you accept this title, would it offend you if I called you stupid? Would it offend you if I said you’re unable to take care of yourself, you’re weak, a chicken, scared of your own shadow? I am sure for most of you, you would find that very offensive. We have all been taught to be self sufficient, being able to handle our own business. It is not a compliment for us to be compared with sheep. Herein lays the problem. When we look closely at sheep, it is not within us to want to be compared to one. We want to be viewed in a very positive light with no need for anyone. The fact that I may need someone other than myself represents a weakness. My pride will not let me admit such a thing. So this morning I am going to ask that you admit such a thing, that you are stupid, weak, not able to take care of yourself, totally dependant on someone greater than you. Turn with me to Psalm 23.
II. David Recognizes He’s A Sheep
King David is one of the more famous figures in the Old Testament. All of us know the story of David and Goliath. David was a teenager when he killed Goliath and that battle was the first of many that he would win. When David faced Goliath (the record is found in 1 Samuel chapter 17) he did so because all of Saul’s soldiers were scared to fight him, including David’s own brothers. Saul did not think David could do it and David told him how God had delivered him from a lion and a bear. He said that this same God would deliver him now. When David said he would fight Goliath, Goliath thought it was a joke. David told Goliath that God would deliver him into his hands. David then ran towards Goliath and killed him with one shot from his slingshot. It was a very short battle. David as a teenager recognized his source, that it was not him, but God.