Although we do not own a dog we enjoy those of others. However, this morning on the beach I did not appreciate this “sheep herder dog” who ran headlong at me and head butted my ankle! His owner was very apologetic, explaining that the dog’s instinct to herd got the better of him. I guess he thought I was going in the wrong direction.
Today’s verse talks about the role of the Holy Spirit. Like the herder dog that nudges the sheep in the right direction, so we need Him to direct and lead. We are like sheep and left to ourselves would go astray (Is. 53:6). We all need the Shepherd’s rod and staff for correction and for getting us out of danger! His Spirit brings the conviction of what is wrong, what is right and the consequences a behavior brings. The Spirit incites the positive godly guilt that leads to repentance, so it is a good thing. (II Cor. 7:9)
However, just as there was pain with that dog, the guilt and conviction from the Holy Spirit is not a comfortable experience. The quicker I listen and obey, changing direction, the sooner the experience is over. But that temporary discomfort is well worth avoiding that fall over a cliff! His desire is always for my good. As my Shepherd He leads me in the paths of righteousness where I can find quiet waters to refresh my soul (Psalm 23). That is why His conviction as a rod and staff can actually bring me comfort!
Lord, help me follow You follow more closely today, and be listening for Your voice.