We are sheep and Satan wants to destroy us, so we are wise to be shepherded by godly leaders who care for our souls (Peter’s emphasis in the first five verses of 1 Peter chapter 5). We are wise to be in community. The posture of “I will love Jesus but not the church” is absent in Scripture. We need community because of the suffering in this world and because of Satan’s prowling. We need encouragement, prayer, support, and love from the community of faith.
Our dog Roscoe sometimes wanders away from home, but thankfully he is smart enough to come back home or even smarter to go to Brian and Marianna’s home – friends of ours who live on the next street. Roscoe likely prefers their home to ours because when they watch him for sometimes, they feed him bison as opposed to the boring dog food we feed him. Dogs are smart. When we compare ourselves to animals, we sometimes compare ourselves to dogs because we like to think of ourselves as smart. More than a dozen division one universities have bulldogs as their mascots. We even call ourselves dogs (What’s up dawg? Where my dawgs at?) We don’t affectionally call each other sheep and there are no universities with the fighting sheep as their mascot. Yet the Bible compares us to sheep. The Bible calls us sheep not to devalue us, but to remind us that we cannot get back home on our own. We need Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, to bring us back to the Father.
As the apostle Peter closes his first letter, he reminds us that we are sheep in the flock of God. And because we are sheep we should resist the devil and run to being shepherded, in being cared for in community. While the Scripture encourages us to resist Satan and run to being shepherded, in our foolishness we are prone to the opposite – to resist shepherding and run to evil.