Sheep get an awfully bad rap, linguistically. Some are quick to label people as “sheep” if we think they haven’t sufficiently questioned authority or if they’re too willing to go along with someone else’s plan. We say someone has “the wool over their eyes” if they aren’t willing to see what we think is very obvious. “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” is what we call someone looking to take advantage of those too gullible to identify a real threat.
Taking all this into account and considering how often we are referred to as sheep in Scripture, you’ve really got to wonder if God trying to tell us something about ourselves.
If you look at the phraseology associated with sheep, it’s no wonder that nobody wants to be one. Sheep are innocent. Sheep can’t protect themselves. They’re vulnerable and easily misled.
We want to see ourselves as the opposite of all that. We like to think we’re shrewd, with plenty of common sense. We want to believe that we don’t have to rely on anybody for anything. We would sooner identify with the wolf than with the sheep — at least the wolf can take care of himself.
We do this because we often resist the need to rest in the greatness of God. Like a child walking to school alone for the first time (forgetting his mom is following watchfully in the car), we want to think we can handle it all by ourselves.
The truth is that God is trying to tell us something by comparing us to sheep: You don’t have to do this on your own.
Every time I look at an obstacle and think that there is no way around it, I am forgetting that I have a shepherd who knows the location of the gate.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS