“Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them.”Psalm 49:14a
In a memorable image from Psalm 49, we see a flock of sheep being led into the underworld, to Sheol, the place of the dead. And it is Death himself who leads these passive animals into the grave. For these sheep, the Grim Reaper’s bony hands hold the shepherd’s crook.
But who are these unfortunate, hopeless sheep? The psalm says they are the kings and princes of this world. They are those—rich and poor alike—who believe they are masters of their own destiny, powerful to save their own souls. They all have put their trust in themselves. Psalm 49 pictures their pompous parade for what it is: a death march. Their glory and power will not last. And we dare not join that flock.
Instead, follow Jesus whom we know as the Good Shepherd. Instead of leading us to death, He Himself was the lamb silently led to the slaughter (see Isaiah 53:7). Jesus gave His life to ransom His sheep from death. When we follow Jesus, we will not walk into our grave. Rather, He will lead us into the green fields and still waters of Heaven.
“Do you really want to have eyes only for present things, and no more?” (Augustine, 354-430 B.C.)