Tag Archives: sheep

All we like sheep

Isaiah 53:6 KJV — All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Unless you’ve actually raised sheep, these words really don’t hold the same understanding.

As a young teen, my parents bought a very run down property in the country, in another state, and took this city girl and my sister, to a whole new way of life.

I didn’t have a clue about anything which I would need to know, but God is gracious and He teaches.

We didn’t have proper fencing, so moving the flock was always an adventure.

(In case your wondering why we were moving them, it’s because sheep need a rotation of pasture or the fields die back and the sheep don’t have good forage. In fact there is a whole science to field rotation and proper care so that the animals get the nutrition they need.)

We didn’t have a sheep dog.

We didn’t have four-wheelers.

We had my mom, my sister, and me.

The system was one person, no body liked this job because it meant getting trampled, had the large bucket of grain.

That person was responsible to call the sheep, wait for most of them to gather (there’s always at least a few who refuse to come when called), then open the gate, and head toward the new field.

The other people are in the field and ready to “encourage” all the sheep to follow the one with the bucket.

(Sheep startle very easily and you have to be careful how you handle them, as a sheep can literally die from fright.)

As the person leading, you have to continue to call the sheep and shake the bucket.

Even with calling and shaking some sheep will bolt out the gate, nearly knocking down the person opening it, and run as fast as they can.

Where?

Anywhere.

They have no sense of what they are doing, they just know the gate is open and they are “free!”.

Others will follow the one calling only until they spy a weedy plant growing along the road.

They’ll stop and block the road with their bodies because the weedy tough thing isn’t a quick grab a mouthful and keep walking, which causes others behind them to stop and loose sight of the one calling.

Those who are stopped will then become confused and loudly protest their distress, at times turning around to head back and other times running back and forth along the road.

Some sheep will be late coming to the gate and when they see it open will bolt as fast as they can.

They will over take and pass the one leading only to find themselves lost, without any others around them.

This can be terrifying for the sheep, who will then bolt back down the way they just came.

They will even pass the one leading the sheep and will return to the field if it were not for the two people who follow at the far back.

Their job is to get the sheep out of the field and close the gate.

Then to follow the one calling the sheep and encourage those who are lost to follow the leader.

But there were some sheep who would come when called.

They knew the person calling had fed them before and would feed them again.

They knew there’s grain in the bucket and they never take their eyes off the leader.

They knew they need what the leader has, they want what the leader has and they follow, no matter what.

When the sheep are all in the new field the grain is set out, normally more than one bucket worth, for we always had more in the new field waiting.

Of course they would push and shove each other, like we didn’t know how much grain was required to supply each one the proper amount.

Afterwards, they’d start grazing, as if they never noticed the new field was lusher, more abundant than the old.

I can easily see myself in those sheep.

How many times did I hear the Lord call and instead of keeping my eyes fixed on Him, my excitement sent me dashing ahead only to find I’d taken His call and applied my own ideas and plans to the execution of it?

It always left me confused and lost as to where to go next.

How many times have I felt “comfortable” unwilling to make a change, not wanting to hed the call, not willing to leave what I was used to?

Only to find that being slow to respond to Him and having to experience the consequences of not obeying were actually hindering what He had in store.

I still reached the new place, it still held all He had for me, but I brought along regret from my disobedience.

I’ve prayed and will continue to pray that God helps me to be the sheep whose eyes are on the Shepherd.

That I will stop wasting my time, energy, and strength in “bolting” in every direction, but instead to listen for His voice, to answer His call, and to always remain beside the One who calls me to follow.

John 10:27 NKJV — “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for loving us so much more than anyone can possibly love. Thank You for creating sheep, that we might see a small portion of ourselves in them. Lord, thank You for teaching me so much about Your patient endurance and Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are caring for me and all I need to do is follow. Thank You for Your provision, Your salvation, and Your grace. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Shepherd

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:6

Anyone who has raised sheep can tell you they “stray” a good deal.

Many a time, as a youth, my frustration over the wandering of the flock would cost me hours of fence repair and regrouping the animals.

When a sheep is wandering outside the protection of the fence, they rarely understand their danger.

Instead it is when the shepherd or caretaker shows up that they seem to suddenly panic over their wandering and will bolt for places unknown.

They can literally run themselves to death or fall and cast themselves which also leads to death, if left in that position.

But did this state of alarm hit them as they wandered through the hole in their protection?

No.

It came when they were face to face with the one who put the protection in place.

The one who actually cares for them and understands all the dangers they do not.

Does this wayward sheep call to the shepherd, or follow them back to their safety?

No.

They bolt.

As fast as their short skinny legs will carry them.

They will blindly flee straight into a dead end and then once at the end will dash madly back and forth, back and forth, all because they left the safety of the fence.

The protection set around a grassy area, supplied with fresh water, and normally cover, all set up for their care.

Do you see yourself in the wayward sheep?

I certainly can see myself.

I can tell you that a good shepherd never ignores the wayward sheep.

Instead they follow and do whatever is necessary to return the sheep to the safety of the fence.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

And He laid down His life for the sheep!

All this knowledge helps me to better understand how I need to handle my walk with the Lord Jesus.

Not to be unaware of the protection He placed in my life through His Holy Word.

To learn not to panic when confronted with an area of my life where I have strayed, but to instead humbly confess and seek the security of the protection and the way back to it by following the Good Shepherd.

To realize I will never completely understand all that goes on, but I can always trust the Good Shepherd.

He really has my best at heart.

As a person who has raised these animals I can tell you, there is only one kind of sheep which does not follow the average behavior.

It’s the one which has been hand-raised.

Whether by illness or some sort of loss, the lamb was raised, not by another sheep, but by the Shepherd alone.

Those are the only ones who will come when they are called.

Will seek the Shepherd when lost.

The ones who will bleat pleadingly when the Shepherd comes into sight.

That’s the kind of sheep I want to be.

4 days till Christmas

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4 NKJV

The staff, a simple tool of the shepherd, is a comfort.

Shepherds are no longer common in our culture.

Yet, they still exist, and although each culture handles things uniquely, even now a staff is a useful tool.

Anyone who has raised sheep can explain how each one needs to be guided and often they tend to go their own way.

The staff is an extension of the shepherd and is used to direct, guide, and at times keep the sheep from heading the wrong way.

Scripture tells of a Good Shepherd, one who cares for the sheep.

Psalm 80:1 NKJV — To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Testimony of Asaph. A Psalm. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth! (Emphasis added)

Isaiah 40:11 NKJV — He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young. (Emphasis added)

Micah 7:14 NKJV — Shepherd Your people with Your staff, The flock of Your heritage, Who dwell solitarily in a woodland, In the midst of Carmel; Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, As in days of old. (Emphasis added)

Jesus said:

John 10:11 NKJV — “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

Not only did He sacrifice Himself for each and every one of us, He leads us down the paths of righteousness.

Today’s addition to the Nativity is a shepherd.

Another beautiful picture of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for each one of us.

The shepherd’s staff is a comfort to those who follow Jesus.

We have God’s Holy Word to guide and direct us.

We have Jesus to lead us.

We are not left alone, scattered and in danger of predictors.

John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

As we look on our Nativity and remember our Good Shepherd, let us rejoice!

Our lives belong to Jesus.

When we submit our lives to Him, He becomes King.

With His Kingship, He guides and directs us, He comforts and provides for us.

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV

Singular love

image

My mother has raised sheep for many years.

Countless nights did we spend in the barn or pasture with a flashlight trying to help a ewe and lamb or lambs.

Yet, it has been a blessing when reading the Bible.

I have been able to understand the scriptures about our Good Shepherd better because I’ve been in the field with sheep.

Psalm 23 is my life chapter.

Through good times and difficult ones I’ve found great comfort in the words “The LORD is my shepherd…”

The parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:10-13) has always made sense since I’ve stayed out far past my desired time searching the pastures for a sheep which didn’t come in.

Yet the truth of these scriptures was reiterated in a quote I read.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Augustine

Jesus would have died for me if I was the only sinner.

Yet He loves us all and died for each and every person.

How incredible the singular love God has for each one.

What an amazing awesome God He is!

Shepherd

2013-11-21 16.16.43“The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want.”

Ps. 23:1

As a girl of thirteen I began raising sheep

with my folks and sister.

I learned so much about what a good shepherd means.

First, I learned, you never have a day off,

unless you pay someone else to watch the sheep.

Second, there are so many things you have to be mindful of:

Briars and blackberries which stick in wool and can tangle and trap them.

Crevices and low places such as a slope that can cause them to lose their footing and get upside down.

How to care for their feet, remove their wool, give vaccinations and medicine…

The list goes on.

So much God has taught through this effort of caring for sheep.

Briars and blackberries would not be such a problem if the sheep would stay away from them, but they don’t.

Instead they push their wooly bodies as far into a patch as possible not realizing they are caught

Until they try to go the other way

With each movement they are torn by the very thing they forced themselves into.

Crevices and low places are so very dangerous for a sheep because they can roll into these and end up laying flat on their back.

Once a sheep is on their back they give up and although nothing is physically wrong with them, they will die if they are not turned over quickly.

A sheep allowed to lie on its back for too long can die even once it has been righted.

Why?

Normally because they refuse to stand up and move.

It’s almost like they think they are no longer able.

Physical needs of caring for their bodies taught a relentless careful eye is needed.

And I have often reflected that if I can keep watch over an animal how much more is the Father keeping watch over me?

I can truly thank the Lord, for He is my shepherd, and

I can trust completely

in Him.