Why Does God Call Us Sheep In The Scriptures?

Of all the animals that God could choose to compare us to, we see in scripture that He compares us to sheep and Himself to the shepherd. 

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“I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-”   John 10:11-14

If we are the sheep, who are the wolves we should be aware of?  

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.”  - Matthew 10:16

“Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves…      Matthew 7:15

Consider the facts about sheep listed in bold below, remembering that God calls us sheep numerous times.    

When one sheep moves, the rest will follow, even if it is not a good idea. The flocking and following instinct of sheep is so strong that it caused the death of 400 sheep in 2006 in eastern Turkey. The sheep plunged to their death after one of the sheep tried to cross a 15-meter deep ravine, and the rest of the flock followed.  

Read from Jeremiah below and let us be sure we are following His Word, and His voice in our lives and not those of false prophets who could mislead us over a spiritual cliff, plunging to our death.  

This is what the LORD says in parts of Jer 23:13-17- “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.  And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible:  They commit adultery and live a lie.  They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness… “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes.   They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.  They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: you will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say,  ‘No harm will come to you.’ 

Jer 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name.  They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ how long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?  

Jer 23:31 Yes, “declares the LORD, “ I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares’.  Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD  “they tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them.  They do not benefit these people in the least,”  declares the LORD.

Sheep are frightened by sudden loud noises, such as yelling or barking. To minimize stress, the shepherd should speak in a quiet, calm voice. 

That is exactly how our “shepherd” speaks to us, in a quiet, calm voice otherwise known in scripture as “a still small voice.”

and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.- 1Kings 19:12

Again, because of their instinct to stay close together sheep will move toward another sheep or a perceived friend. Often times a friend can be a person, particularly if the person feeds the sheep. By using this instinct, shepherds have controlled sheep movement for centuries. 

God feeds His flock with the “Bread of Life,” His very Son.  By feeding us His Word He can direct our lives.  

“Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”- John 6:32-33

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. - John 6:35

Do you know your Shepherd’s Voice?  Are you feeding yourself the Bread of Life?