Sheep and Shepherds

The Bible refers to sheep more than any other creature. Sheep have an undeserved reputation for being dumb. They aren’t dumb.

I have some relatives who are sheep farmers. I have seen first hand how sheep behave. They have really long memories and they communicate with each other. When a person has a good relationship with several sheep, those sheep let other members of the flock know that the person can be trusted. Sheep learn and remember. They willingly follow a person they trust, but they ignore or run away from someone they don’t know. They also can tell the difference between a person who truly cares about them and someone who’s kind of faking it.

Jesus refers to Himself as a good shepherd. (e.g., John 10)

Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd”) is probably the best known Psalm, even by lots of people who haven’t read the rest of the Bible. Sometimes I am tempted to skim past the 23rd Psalm because I feel like I already know that one. But it is a profound Psalm.

Recently I had the pleasure of really spending some good quiet time meditating on this Psalm. It was well worth it.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads 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.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

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