Sheep are a flocking animal. They enjoy, by necessity of safety and comfort, company. They do not like to be isolated or alone; in instances when they are cut off from the flock they cry: baa!
Sheep, unless they are spooked, like to slowly roam around as the graze. Moving ever so slowly. Calling to each other from time to time. Lifting their heads to look for danger, or to see their companions. Then, as some lay down to ruminate, they settle, getting up from time to time to nibble again.
As followers of Messiah we have a tendency to be in a rush. We want to move, check out new grass, see what’s over the hill. We should not be in such a rush; rather, we need to learn patience.
In a flock there is always a lead ewe that other sheep will flock to, follow, and settle around. Then there is the shepherd, whose voice, posture, and presence the sheep know. His presence among them is not threatening, but comforting. When he calls, they will follow, or come to him.
As Yeshua/Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Have you ever considered what happens when the shepherd stops moving? When we linger in one place too long, at times we get antsy, “Why isn’t the shepherd leading me? Why have we stopped? I need some direction!”
The psalmist writes, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way” (Ps. 37:23).
מֵיְהוָה, מִצְעֲדֵי-גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ
Translated another way, “The pace of a strong and faithful man are prepared by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”
I’ve translated “steps” relying on the meaning of its root, which speaks of the pace of movement.
We are used to moving, especially in faith, but standing still, grazing in one place we have yet to master. When the Lord calls us to move, we move. Even if you do not know the exact direction, you will move in the flow of the shepherd’s flock.
The Lord prepares our steps according to the strength of scriptural nourishment. We should not expect that He will prepare steps to take us where we not strong enough to walk.
Why does the Lord delight? Because in the steps that He has prepared, no matter how difficult the way might appear, we are triumphing in His grace, and not stumbling. That’s why He delights in our way.
Fed, we stand. Standing, we move. Moving, we follow Him, the Shepherd.
When you do not have direction from the Shepherd, what you should do is simple: don’t move, graze a while. Be still. Know that He is God. And that because He is leading you, He hasn’t left you.
Fill up where you are, and be strong for the way ahead, and when He gives the word, move.
Be well. Shalom.