In our small group the other night, we were studying Mark 1. One of the things that stuck out was the Holy Spirit drove Jesus to the desert. As discussion was being made, one of the women gave us insight about the practices of shepherding. The shepherd goes ahead of his flock and prepares the path and then goes in behind the flock and drives them down that path. Her insight and knowledge really stuck with me that night. So I considered, how do I go about praying for direction and clarity when I’m not sure on the way? The father being who he is, gave me more understanding in the matter.
The 5 Different Sheep:
1.) The first type of sheep gets a glimpse of the path and runs ahead of the Lord. Removing himself from hearing the Lords direction. They get out of ear shot and begin to feel lost because they no longer hear the shepherd.
2.) The second type of sheep is the distracted and wandering sheep. They choose to go their own way and find themselves going down wrong paths and never truly listening to the shepherds voice.
3.) The third type of sheep is the “eyes glued on you but ears closed sheep” they are so fixated in constantly asking for direction and guidance in prayer that they never actually listen to the Shepherd when he says move and take a step of faith. Then they wonder why the Lord did not make the way clear.
4.) The fourth type of sheep would prefer to be on a leash. They want to have the ability to be distracted and looking around at the world and participating in it but they don’t want to wander off and get in trouble. But then when the Lord leads them in a different terrain that requires diligent attention they are surprised when they stumble and falter and are unsure of where they are.
5.) The fifth type of sheep is a custom to the shepherds voice and ways. This sheep does not know the way that is laid out before them but their eyes, mind and heart are discerning of the shepherds handiwork and signature along the path. The sheep stays focused on the shepherds voice and their eyes always fixed forward to see where the shepherd has already been.
So, what type of sheep am I? Sometimes I’m all of them in different seasons. But the one thing that has stuck out the most is that when I pray seeking the Lords direction it’s not to clear paths and pave ways because that has already been done. No, my prayers are to give me clarity in my eyes to see his handiwork. Give me a focused mind and heart to discern his ways. Give me ears attuned to his voice. I need to stay vigilant in my bible study time because it is where I will be able to distinguish the shepherds ways verse my own way or the worlds.
The path the Lord wants us to walk is fully prepared and cleared but it’s whether or not we are actually focused on Lord and know his ways that we will actually see that path.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV