C. “Dottie” is a confused sheep. She wants to be a Baaa-bara at times; other times, she’d love to be a Bo-Peep. But, then, being a Baaa-bara isn’t all that bad. However, there are good parts to being a Bo-Peep….and on and on she goes, first wanting to be one, then the other. In other words, she straddles the fence most of the time! Did you know that there are over 200 species or breeds of sheep? Yet, no matter their specieis of origin, certain characteristics are true of all sheep:
1. Sheep hate to be alone. They naturally flock together.
God created humankind for relationship~ with Him and with one another.
2. Sheep need constant care. They are dependent upon their shepherd for that care.
We need constant care from our Good shepherd, even when we don't recognize
or acknowledge it.
3. Sheep are afraid of swift and splashy water, and will not enter into it. However, if the master goes in the water, they will follow suit, fully trusting in the master.
We face times of insecurity, uncertainty, confusion…perhaps even fear. Yet,
4. Sheep are thin-skinned…
not unlike many of us.
5. Sheep are 80% water;
humans are 95 % water.
6. Sheep tend to be timid, prideful, and sometimes selfish.
It is human nature to be selfish; it takes work to be selfless. And “prideful”? Only you and God know!
7. Sheep stray easily.
Have you ever strayed from the Lord and come back to find He’s right there where He has always been, patiently waiting for your return? How comforting it is to know that our Good Shepherd will never “leave us nor forsake us” (Heb. 13:5); He’s the God of 2nd chances.
8. Sheep have no sense of direction and have to be brought back by the shepherd.
We may stray off the straight and narrow path; yet, we are never far from His presence, and He always knows where we are and what our situation is. Ps. 139 says: “…Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths,a you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. “
9. If a sheep continues to stray the shepherd may have to break one of its legs and have to carry that one sheep until that leg mends. If that occurs, that sheep will never stray again.
Have you ever had to learn a “God lesson” the hard way? We usually do not forget those lessons!
10. Each sheep knows its own shepherds call. Several shepherds may be in a field with their flocks. When a shepherd comes to gather his flock and calls them to himself, his sheep KNOW his call, and only those sheep will come to him. In order to get them to leave the area, the shepherd lies down and allows each sheep to walk over him.
Do you know your Master’s call? Can you hear His voice? Do you know that He lay His life down in order for you to walk into eternity with Him? If you are not completely confident of that today, please do whatever you must at this moment to spend time with Him in confession, invitation and submission. Please contact me and I will be honored to talk with you and pray with you.
11. Sheep get tired and need rest. The shepherd provides rich green pastures for sustenance for the sheep. The shepherd provides a place of freedom from fears and from pests and aggravations.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28
12. By nature, sheep are edgy, tense and restless.
Strike a chord?
13. There is a “butting order” among sheep (not unlike people) and the only thing that will keep them from butting heads is the presence of their owner.
My observation is that, even when our “owner”/Master/Great Shepherd is present, there are those who continue to butt heads in competition to be #1. Perhaps we need to learn from the little sheep.
14. The shepherd counts his sheep every single day. Each of them has a name, and he calls them by name. As each one approaches him, he runs his hands through the wool to check for pests or sores. He knows them intimately…
Ps. 139 assures us that our Lord knows each of us by name; He knows us intimately; He knows every single detail of our life that was determined before the foundation of the world. We, as believers in Christ, belong to Him, and He to us. Remember, we are joint heirs with Christ!
15. The shepherd’s staff guides his sheep; his rod and staff discipline or corrects the sheep.
We often need disciplining or correcting by our Master’s rod (His Word).
16. Even in the dark a shepherd can match a lamb to its mother. He is “intimately acquainted with all their ways” (italics mine).
17. To rid sheep of the pesky nose flies, the shepherd rubs oil all over their heads.
“Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over”. Ps. 23: 5b
I leave you with this question: Are you His sheep…or are you a goat? Are you really His…or do you just know about Him?