God has been my shepherd, all my life, to this very day – Genesis 48:15
I have always been a bit of a black sheep. The mohawk, the neon, the rebellious streak – never enough to get me kicked out of my family, but certainly I always identified with being a bit of the odd girl out.
Over the past two weeks, it seems everywhere I turn, Father God is wanting to talk about sheep. I turn on the TV, sheep. Open my Bible, Psalm 23. I hear a speaker – you got it. So generally when God spotlights something to us, He wants us to understand it. I looked up in my translation of the Bible how many time sheep and shepherds are mentioned, and I got 43. But reading through these passages, they are often not one liners. As a matter of fact, often God has quite a bit to say.
So I figured, if God called humanity “sheep”, and Jesus our “shepherd”, then perhaps I should read up on all this . And I have to admit, its a bit humbling. From Wikipedia, check out the characteristics of sheep – and according to God, our characteristics.
1. timid, fearful, easily panicked
2. dumb stupid, gullible
3. very vulnerable to fear, frustration, pests, hunger
4. easily influenced by a leader
5. stampede easily, vulnerable to mob psychology
6. little or no means of self-defense; can only run
7. easily killed by enemies
8 jealous, competitive for dominance
9. constantly need fresh water, fresh pasture
10. have very little discernment in choosing food or water
11. perverse, stubborn – will insist on their own way , even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water
12. easily “cast” – flipped over on their back, unable to right themselves will die of starvation if not turned over by shepherd; helpless
13. frequently look for easy places to rest
14. don’t like to be sheared, cleaned
15. creatures of habit; get into “ruts”
16. need to be “on the move”; need a pre-determined plan, pattern of grazing
It goes further to say that sheep must have a leader, that sheep require the most care of ANY livestock, and must be told what to do and where to go, other wise they’ll wander off and get lost. It doesn’t take alot of imagination to see that list above in today’s society. We ARE sheep. And He is the only Shepherd that will truly care for us. It is telling that some of the most familiar lines in the Bible were written BY a shepherd, David. He understood the relationship better than anyone.
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil,
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
I heard a preacher the other day who explained the relationship of sheep to shepherd. He said ” The sheep don’t wake up in the morning and think about their to-do list. They do not think about what job they have. The only job a sheep has is to keep his eye on, and follow the Shepherd. It is the only way to be safe, fed and cared for.”
That doesn’t mean you do not work. It does mean that in order to be a part of God’s Kingdom, under the precepts He laid down, your only job in regards to salvation is to keep your eyes on the Shepherd and follow Him. There is nothing a sheep can do to assist the shepherd except be obedient.
“You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are My people, and I am your God.” Ezekiel 34:31
Jesus is the only Shepherd who can can take away fear and panic, cause you to step away from the mob and stand for Him, turn you over when you have been “cast”, feed and provide for you, guide you to safety.
Without the Shepherd – the sheep are LOST.
“When Jesus saw the crowds He has compassion on them, for they were confused and helpless like sheep without a shepherd” Matthew 2:6
You can take it to the bank that if God says you are a sheep, you are a sheep. Stick close to the shepherd. He would give His life to keep you safe and bring you home. As a matter of fact, He did.
John 10:11-15 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Thank You, Jesus.