Summary: A sermon which deals with the importance of depending on Christ.
Depending on the Shepherd
Sometimes animals seem annoyingly human.
A man absolutely hated his wife’s cat and decided to get rid of him one day by driving him 20 blocks from his home and leaving him at the park. As he arrived home, the cat was walking up the driveway. The next day he decided to drive the cat 40 blocks away. He put the beast out and headed home. Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat!
He kept taking the cat further and further, and the cat would always beat him home. At last he decided to drive several miles away, until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there. Hours later the man calls home to his wife: "Jen, is the cat there?" "Yes", the wife answers, "why do you ask?"
Frustrated, the man answered, "Put the little fleabag on the phone, I’m lost and need directions."
It’s strange how human some animals seem, isn’t it?. Cats and dogs and even chimpanzees sometimes seem to look and act almost human. But some animals don’t resemble humans at all. If you’ve ever seen cows up close, looked in their eyes, there’s not much there, is there? Goats have that same empty stare. Sheep fall into the same category. And yet of all the animals The Bible compares you and I to, guess which one the Bible uses the most?
The Bible says you and I are like sheep who need a shepherd.
When David started out the 23rd Psalm saying, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” he’s not only saying something about God, he’ saying something about us. You and I are like sheep—we need Somebody to take care of us. When the Lord Jesus said
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
He is saying you and I are like sheep who have no protection. We need Somebody to keep us out of the belly of the wolf. When the prophet Isaiah writes in
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;…
He is telling us that we are sheep who need Somebody to lead us where we need to go.
You and I are like sheep—we need somebody to provide for us, somebody to protect us, and somebody to lead us. Unfortunately, we are also like sheep in another way---we don’t always have sense enough to realize how desperately we need the Shepherd. Human nature tends to be self-sufficient: “I don’t need anybody else! I can take care of myself!” But the truth is we are sheep, and we do need a Shepherd.
This is the message of Zech. 10, a message which is summarized in vs. 3 (read) Tonight I want us to think about 3 ways we sheep should be depending on our Shepherd.
I. DEPEND ON THE SHEPHERD TO SUPPLY YOUR NEEDS (v. 1-2)
When my Granny Lane had to move out of her house, she left many kitchen cabinets full of food. She had cans that were out of date, jars she had preserved many years before. She kept a lot more food in her house than she would ever be able to eat. Why do you suppose she stored up so much food? She had lived through the Great Depression—in an age and area where many people did not have enough food to eat. In her mind, it was always possible those times of need would return, and she stocked up on food to be sure she had enough.
I don’t know of too many people that worry about where their next meal is coming from. I don’t know anybody who is running low on clothes, or a place to live. Most of us have so much we don’t think we need to depend on anybody else for our needs. Yet our Lord taught us to ask God to give us this day our daily bread. The Bible says you and I are sheep who need the Shepherd to provide for our needs.
In vs. 1-2 Zechariah urges his readers Ask the Lord to send the spring (latter) rain. Why in the world would you pray for rain—especially in the spring? Doesn’t Zechariah know April showers bring May flowers? Why involve God in all of this? Because only God brings the flashing clouds…showers of rain…grass in the fields for everyone..(v. 1b). Only God gives the rain that waters the crops that gives us the food to keep us alive. Zechariah says you depend on God to supply your needs.
On the other hand Zechariah says in vs. 2 idol worshippers—those who depend on anything or anyone else but God—are holding on to false hopes. They deny the truth that God supplies our needs, believing the lies of self-sufficiency, lies which bring no comfort or assurance our needs will be met. There is no Shepherd they say everybody’s on their own to meet their own needs the best way they know how. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble [afflicted] because there is no shepherd.