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Tue, Sep 02 2008 - 10:24 PM

The Shepherd and His Sheep

  Several years ago, I read a small little book called a Shepherd looks at the 23rd Psalm. I didn't know much about sheep except what I read in scriptures. From what I have read sheep are very dumb animals, they are subject to get themselves into trouble all the time. Thank God for the Good Shepherd. Many people look at the 23rd psalm as a psalm of death, but it is a psalm of life and power, of the Shepherd! 1. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
I can trust in him, for protection, and to supply my needs.
2 He maketh me lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Sheep will graze all morning, but like cows they chew cuds, or ruminate what they have eaten. The Good Shepherd will allow his sheep to eat their fill, but then he has to make them lie down about noon, and ruminate, or re chew what they have eaten in the morning, so they can get the best nourishment from it. Sheep are frightened of moving waters, if they fall in they know they will drown because of the weight of their wool. The Good Shepherd knows that the sheep need still waters to drink from, still water is life itself, for the sheep. From Phillip Keller "The strange thing about sheep is that because of their very makeup, it is almost impossible for them to be made to lie down, unless four requirements are met. First, due to their timidity, they must be free from all fear. Next, because of their sociability, they must be free from friction with others of their kind. Third, they must be free from flies or parasites if they are to relax. Lastly, they will not lie down unless free from hunger. And it is only the shepherd who can provide release from all anxieties."
3 He restoreth my soul.He leadeth me in the paths of Righteousness for his name sake.
The sheep can rest in the presence of the Good Shepherd, God's peace (shalom) speaks of complete rest, nothing missing, nothing broken. The Good Shepherd, makes sure that his sheep do not wander off where predators await. There is a story that the Shepherd will break a rebellious lambs leg with his rod, if it wanders away from the flock. This is to protect the lamb who sees no danger. The Shepherd will then take that lamb and put him on his shoulder, or carry it in his arms until the leg heals. After the leg heals the lamb becomes so imprinted on the Shepherd that it will stay right by his side. If after the leg heals the lamb is still rebellious the Shepherd will kill the lamb, he and his family will eat it, so there is no meat wasted to predators. Mark tells us there are 2 paths to chose, one is the narrow path, and the other is the broad path. One leads to righteousness the other to destruction.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
David spoke of his days as a shepherd, he killed a lion and a bear who was after his sheep. Knowing that the Good Shepherd offers us protection. In every situation. The Shepherd uses his rod to fight off predators, and his staff to guide his sheep and correct them, and also to rescue them if they fall into a nook, or cranny.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Phillip Keller states above that sheep cannot rest, or eat if it has flies, or other insects buzzing around them. The Good Shepherd anoints his sheep's head with an insecticide, to keep these insects away so his sheep can eat, and rest in peace. From another writer "As long as they follow me I guide and protect my sheep. It’s tough work, but I always make sure my sheep have food to eat. I always check out the fields before I allow them to graze. If there are poisonous plants in the area and go through and weed out everyone by hand. I also check the ground for snake holes. I told you it’s dangerous in my land. We have tiny little vipers that live underground in some of the pasture lands. When they sense the sheep grazing, they pop their ugly heads out of the ground and bite the sheep on the nose. The infection or venom from the bite could kill them. But I have a remedy for those viscous little enemies. I walk off the entire area looking for snake holes. When I find them I pour a little olive oil into the entrance of the hole. Then I anoint the head and nose of each sheep with the same oil and allow them to graze. The oil prevents the slick bodies of the snakes from crawling out of their holes. They’re powerless to harm my sheep. It makes me laugh to watch my little lambs have a picnic in the very presence of their enemies.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
What a psalm of provision and victorious living. Praise God for his promises, Praise Our Good Shepherd for his care and supplication. Jesus said my sheep know my voice and another they will not follow. He knows us, and he knows our name, he is not a hireling, but the Good Shepherd who loves his lambs.
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