“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3
The Shepherd leads.
The sheep follow.
A Middle Eastern shepherd walks out in front of his flock. He keeps up a running monologue so the sheep can hear his calm voice.
In the West, sheep farmers ride horses and shout. Dogs are used to herd their sheep, barking and nipping and driving the flock from behind.
On one of my trips to Israel I once saw a man behind a flock of sheep, driving them down the road by holding out two long sticks, one on either side, in an attempt to force them to stay together in front of him. Puzzled that I had never seen a shepherd lead his sheep like that, I asked my guide, “Why is that shepherd driving his sheep that way? I’ve never seen that before.” “Oh,” he answered. “That’s not a shepherd. That’s a butcher. He has bought those sheep and now he has to drive them to the slaughterhouse. They won’t follow him, because they don’t know him. He can’t lead them, so he has to drive them.”
Shepherds lead from the front. Butchers drive from behind.
Be not afraid. He goes before us into this day.
Listen for His voice. Stick to the path.
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4