If I am a sheep, Who is my Shepherd?

Everyday we use animal analogies, i.e. “tired as a dog”, “happy as a dead pig in the sunshine,” “hungry as a bear”, and more so we know what being compared to an animal is all about. There are more than two hundred references and comparisons, in the Bible, concerning sheep. I have heard preachers say that sheep are dumb. I would say that they couldn’t be thatdumb, at least they knew their own shepherd’s voice and that was key in their protection from wild beasts.

Back in the day, the shepherds named their sheep the way we name our pets! At night several shepherds would put their flocks into one pen so they could take turns sitting in the gate keeping watch, while the others slept. When morning came each shepherd would call their sheep out by name, and they would come and follow their own shepherd because they recognized his voice!

Jesus gave His disciples the example of how the shepherd sits in the gate and then told them that HE was the Good Shepherd. Those sheep were protected and we, as His sheep, are also protected. Our problem is that unlike the sheep, we sometimes listen to other voices and go bleating off in other directions, while our own Good Shepherd is calling us out be name. For centuries shepherds have been herding sheep. Face it, no one likes to carry a load of weight around their shoulders for too long, and so it may seem that the Good Shepherd is picking up a little lamb and hoisting it over His shoulders to help it make it over to the greener pasture, perhaps the little baa-baa is just tired or fatigued and simply needs that extra gentle touch? Not so, a shepherd’s role in the life of his sheep is not only to guard them, prod them, and get them onto the right path and in the right direction. Occasionally there is a need for discipline as well. When an animal that is suppose to be doing what it is suppose to be doing is told over and over again, shown, lovingly shown, forcibly shown, and it still refuses to do what it is suppose to do, the shepherd has two choices: he can either kill the little guy or break its leg to render it unable to continue disobeying him. Now, almost immediately after the leg is broken the sheep gets the message that the shepherd is serious about the direction or the commandment given. It doesn’t take too long for the waywardness to subside and the dependency upon the shepherd to take place. Then, and only then, does the shepherd pick up the broken lamb and place it over his shoulders to carry it for a matter of a long time and an enduring lesson, which over a course of weeks and usually close intimate conversation and discussion from His mouth to the lamb’s ears, will the lamb be strong enough to walk on its own again. Breaking the animal’s leg is better than the alternative. Guess how many actual shepherds take the time to do that? They feast on mutton rather than make the effort when they have too many other obedient sheep walking correctly.

I don’t want to be that little fluffy sheep on Jesus’ shoulders. I’m content to being one of the first sheep in line – keeping pace, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Now how do you feel about being compared to sheep?

Psalm 100:3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Jesus is standing in the gate and protecting me from the wild animals and dangers that try to take my life.

Matthew 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell

3 Replies to “If I am a sheep, Who is my Shepherd?”

  1. Thank you. Have you read the book A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller? It had a profound effect on me as I read it during the time I was in Piedmont Hospital waiting for the open heart surgery for the aneurysms inside my heart. You and Pastor Janet came to visit me there. If you have not read that book, you would love it. I love you and miss you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you ever talked with sheep herders? (Shepherd, like you find in the Bible is an outdated vocation. In primitive societies and times past, shepherds would basically go out and live with the sheep in the country. Not so much these days.)

    Talk with people who raise sheep and with people who raise pigs. Pigs are smart; sheep are dumb. I raised a few lambs when I was a kid and I helped herd them. I can attest. You cant teach a sheep, not much.

    However, sheep do know the shepherds voice – the voice of the one who comes to feed everyday. They come to rely on the shepherd in a WHO YOU KNOW / NOT WHAT YOU KNOW sense. (You might argue that is smart, but it is an ironic kind of smart.) Sheep come to trust the shepherd.

    And shepherds (all through history) are usually regarded as lowly people by the rest of society.

    I took three years of Greek as an undergrad, and each year at some point, us students would talk our instructor (different each year) into discussing a certain difficult word Paul uses in Phil. 3:8. In reality, we were making sport of our Bible prof(s) trying to get them to use the word “sh*t” in a Bible lecture. Two of them did. But one of them gave us a most fascinating lecture on the way that word came to be “dirty”. After all, there are lots of words for the STUFF, and some of them are technically correct – meaning not “dirty” even if the subject matter might be considered delicate. (Actually, we could say that about the word crucifixion too… but I will save that for another day.)

    At any rate, the SH-word (which the Irish shepherds used, but pronounced slightly different from us American kids) came to be considered foul language, not because there was anything innately wrong with the word itself. After all, we have to have some word(s) for it, and not all of them are considered dirty. But people in polite society looked down on shepherds with disgust, and their term for the STUFF was the one they rejected as impolite.

    Well, it’s too ingrained now as the dirty word, so I will not try to defend it or rehab it, but I will say that I don’t like those rules.

    But for our purposes, I will say it is evidence of the topic under consideration in your post. Both sheep and shepherds are held in contempt by wolves, pigs, and the rich and powerful. But out there in those hills, those lowly people and those lowly beasts have a special relationship, one that Jesus uses to highlight his role in our world. And he too is beneath the contempt of many a wolf, pig, rich, and powerful.

    Hmmm…

    Perspective, I think, sheds new light.

    At least this is my viewpoint on such matters.

    Hey, btw, totally off subject, but I have read so many of your posts for quite a long time. And I have a sense of who you are without actually KNOWING you. (Social media skews things.) But I am confident you are a woman of faith, and a person who CARES. That stuff is not in doubt.

    But I just kinda wonder sometimes… I mean, as I read some of your stories, I start imagining your environment, your friends and family, and no doubt the images I have are deeply skewed. But I would take great comfort if you will tell me this:

    Does your home have a large front porch with a porch swing and green plants and flowers around it? And one more tidbit… Do you have doilies in your parlor?

    Just curious. No real NEED to know, but these things make anchors in the images I have. And so I just kinda wonder…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have made me laugh out loud!!!! (Written out instead of abbreviated LOL) 😂😂😂 I will happily tell you some things to help your image !! If you would like to see pictures of my family I posted some videos on YouTube that shows our home and family (sort of) and then a video with pictures mostly of me because people who watched the other videos wondered why I was never in them. Simple, I’m the photog!! I’ll go over and send you the link. I loved the rest of your post and one dirty little secret of mine is that there are times I actually use that little dirty word 😀

      Like

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