Misty was a stray cat (or, rather, kitten) that showed up at our door one evening. She was all matted and shivering, skinny and half-starved. We took her in and fed her, and that’s all it took – she was ours!
Just like Misty, the Bible says that we are strays. Yet Christ took us in and made us His own. Listen to Isaiah in Isaiah 53:6. He says, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to His own way, But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
Philip Keller, author of “A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm,” tells an interesting story. It seems that a particular sheep was continually straying into a harmful area, and no amount of coaxing and fencing would keep her out. So, extreme measures were taken. Her leg was broken and then reset and bandaged. The break prevented her from straying, and saved her from possible harm. Evidently this is a real problem with sheep – they stray away.
The word “astray” in this verse is the Hebrew word ta-‘ah, which means “to err, or wander off.” You see, all of us like sheep have wandered off. That is a description of our sinful condition. Actually, the text says that each of us have turned to our own way.
That’s what we want – our own way. We want to be free and independent of God. We don’t want anyone else telling us what to do. So, we wander off into harmful areas and become entangled in things that can hurt us. What we need is a Shepherd to carry us back to the fellowship with God – to unsnarl us from entangled brambles – to rescue us from the precipitous ledge – to snatch us from the jowls of the devouring beast. We need a Savior, because “All we like sheep have gone astray.”
So, where are you going? Don’t you know there’s great danger in going your own way?