The Shepherd As Leader
INTRODUCTION: "He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake"
If sheep are left to themselves they will follow the same trails until they become ruts; graze the same hills until they turn to desert wastes, pollute their own ground until it is corrupt with disease and parasites. Many of the world's finest sheep ranges have been ruined beyond repair by over-grazing, poor management, and indifferent or ignorant sheep owners.
No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, more detailed direction, then do sheep. David, as shepherd, knew beyond dispute that if the flock was to flourish and the owner's reputation was to be held in high esteem as a good leader, the sheep had to be constantly under his meticulous control and guidance.
With this in mind, David knew there needed to be a pre-determined plan of action, a deliberate, planned rotation from one grazing ground to another in line with right and proper principles of sound leadership. This is precisely the sort of wisdom and show of action that David had in mind when he spoke of "being led" in paths of righteousness.
The leader's (shepherd's) entire name and reputation depends on how effectively and efficiently he keeps his charges moving onto wholesome, new, fresh pastureland. The one who directs his flock along this line and course is sure of success.
For a shepherd to lead his sheep on the "right paths," he needs intimate knowledge of his pastures. He has been all over this ground again and again. He knows where his flock will thrive and he is aware of where the feed is poor.
A point worthy of mentioning here is that whenever the shepherd opens a gate into a fresh pasture, the sheep are filled with excitement. They enjoy being led to new ground.
Undoubtedly, the Lord knew our behavior patterns and life habits are so much like that of sheep that He allows us to see the parallels.
Isaiah 53:6, "All we like ...
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