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We needed that goading

Scattered sheep are often not even aware of their aimless wandering, striving to find that next patch of grass to satisfy their insatiable hunger, or their endless pursuit of what is just around the next bend. It is that endless pursuit and aimless striving that gets them into trouble every time! Did you ever stop to consider why sheep need a shepherd? It is simply because they are followers! They go where the one in front of them goes, regardless of what could be in the area. The shepherd knows the areas where the sheep can become easy prey for those who would seek to make a meal out of them! He knows they will wander into these areas, but be oblivious to the threats lurking all around them. The shepherd of our lives knows the exact threats that lurk, the places in life that pose the greatest threats to us, and just how easily we can wind up in those places without even taking notice of where we are at the moment.

But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so. Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him. He endured the breaking that made us whole. The injuries he suffered became our healing. We all have wandered off, like shepherdless sheep, scattered by our aimless striving and endless pursuits; The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer, the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Did you know that sheep are pretty timid and easy-going animals? This makes them very easy prey for their predators. It is this timidity that often gets them into trouble. Did you ever stop for a minute to consider just how much of a 'threat' YOU are to the predators in your life? There are all kinds of predators just waiting for us to wander aimlessly into some place that will leave us unprotected and as an easy target for their attacks. The shepherd of our life isn't there to just watch us wander - he is there to gently goad us back into the places of safety that he has already scoped out for us that ensure we will prosper!

Did you know that sheep have a tendency to run into open areas, just wildly going from spot to spot? They run one direction and then another, leading to the apt description of being 'aimless' in their wandering. The shepherd has the responsibility to keep them close, gathering them in flocks so they will know the safety that comes in numbers, and then keeping them near enough to hear his voice. Because of their wandering aimlessly, they can find themselves engaging in activities that are easily very hard on them and almost a little 'self-destructive' in nature. They wander out into roadways, into places where they can become 'stuck', and even into places where food is no longer available. 

Ever feel like you might just be a little bit like the aimless sheep? If so, you aren't alone! We all have a tendency to just get into places we should have avoided, oblivious to the dangers that lurk. We all can think wide-open spaces mean we are okay to just wander with ease, wandering so far away that it makes it hard to hear our Shepherd's voice. So, if we want to be safe, protected, and free of 'lurking threats', maybe it would be best if we stayed a little closer to the Shepherd and didn't resist his goading so much! Just sayin!

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