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.
I did not need a herder but sheep sure do. They are just plain stupid without direction. The Bible tells us that we are like sheep, apt to wander and go our own way. This is why we need the Lord our Shepherd, as well as His rod of correction and His staff to get us out of dangerous situations.
I would like to suggest that the sheep herder dog could symbolize the Holy Spirit. Just as the dog is needed for correction, so we too need to be nudged in the right direction when we start to get out of line. The Holy Spirit does that for the believer. Our verse today talks about His conviction. His role is to convince us of what is sin, of what is the right thing to do, and of the certainty of consequences. Guilt that is godly and comes from Him 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 we listen and obey, changing direction, the sooner this experience is over.
My prayer is that I follow the Shepherd more closely today, listening to the correction of His Spirit.