Summary: There are other shepherds out there, and even the most Godly Christian struggles with making the LORD his trued shepherd. Find out why.
OPEN: In the classic novel: “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice comes to a fork in the road. One path leads one way, and the other path leads the other… and she asks the Cheshire Cat for advice:
“Would you tell me please,” she asks “which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
APPLY: There are a lot of people who (just like Alice) don’t seem to know where they’re going. They just kind of drift thru life. For all intents and purposes it looks like they’re not going anywhere… and they are not really doing all that much with their lives.
But if you were to ask them, I think most would say they really want to do more with their lives. They’d like to believe that there’s more to living than just “getting by”. They’d like to believe they have a reason to live.
And, you know, that’s natural, because God has built that yearning into our hearts.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…”
He has set the belief (in your heart and in mine) that there’s more to life than just “living”.
It’s like He’s created this big hole inside of us… this feeling that we’re meant for more than just surviving in this life.
But many people aren’t quite sure what their purpose in life might be.
The problem for most people is they don’t know where they’re going and they’re not sure they ever will.
Now, David didn’t have that problem.
He never worried about where he was, where he was going, or what he was doing because - as he said: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want… He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.” Psalms 23:1&2
David knew where he was going because he had a shepherd who was leading him.
And that Shepherd (GOD) knew the path that David needed to follow.
I. Now there are other options in life.
You don’t have to take God as your good shepherd.
You don’t have to follow His leading in your life.
You can go merrily on your way wherever you want to go. And a lot of people do just that.
Of course, somebody has to decide what path we’re going to take.
If it isn’t God… there’s only two other options I can think of
2. Someone else.
The Bible tells me the problem with those other kinds of shepherds is that - whether it’s me or someone else choosing the path: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
* Highly educated people (for example) tend to seek out the wisdom of philosophers and great thinkers. When I attended a secular college I took several philosophy classes. And what I discovered was these philosophers and great thinkers often disagreed with each other about what path people ought to take. I took one philosophy class that was dedicated to presenting and ripping apart many of the major philosophical concepts known to man.
But what really sticks with me is the memory of the fact that many philosophers weren’t even sure they could prove that they existed.
One great thinker named Descartes struggled with this question of his own existence and he developed what many regard as an earthshaking conclusion.
He said “Yes I exist”
How did he know?
Well… he concluded “I think… therefore I am”
Now, isn’t that dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of?
But that’s the kind of thinking you can end up following, if God is not your shepherd.
People with this kind of intellect can end up living in a land of death because they can’t even accept the truth that they EXIST.
* Less scholarly people tend to listen to the advice of their peers.
I’ve watched a few TV programs over the past few years that have tried to show real life in a fictional setting. They’ll have one of their actors struggling with a relationship, or a job problem or some other difficulty they can’t quite handle. And several times I’ve heard their friends say give this advice:
“Why don’t we go down to the bar, and get a couple of drinks”
And – I’m thinking: WHAT?
How’s that going to help you deal with your difficulty?
But many people really do reason just this way. They try to bury their difficulties in booze or drugs or other distractions of life. They numb themselves hoping that when they wake up again the problems will be gone. But, of course, the problems DON’T really go away… they just hide for awhile.