Abundant Life–Gifts of the Good Shepherd, Day 3

If you study God’s Word much at all, you will see that sheep are the most talked-about animal in the Bible. God loves sheep and thinks His people are a lot like them.


Being a former teacher, I like to review a lot. These are the facts about sheep we studied yesterday:

  1. Sheep don’t see very well.
  2. Sheep don’t hear very well.
  3. The biggest enemy of the sheep is the fox.
  4. Sheep are not very courageous. They panic easily. However, they are very resilient.

Let’s look at more interesting facts about sheep and see if we can figure out why God loves to compare us to sheep.

  1. Sheep are healthy and happy when their shepherd is gentle, kind, intelligent, brave, and selfless. Our Great Shepherd is just like that. When we focus on who He is—when we get to know Him and spend time with Him—that is when we are healthiest and happiest.
  2. Sheep are marked on the ear with the distinct mark of their shepherd. In the Old Testament, we find the tradition of Jubilee. In the year of Jubilee, which happened every fifty years, all the slaves were set free. But if a slave loved his master and wanted to stay with him forever, he would ask to be a slave for life. The master would then take him to the doorpost of the home and place his ear against the doorpost and with a sharp instrument the master would pierce his ear, marking him forever as belonging to the master.

Do you have the distinct mark of the great Shepherd? You have been bought with a great price, the blood of the Shepherd, who was willing to die for his sheep. Do you belong to him? If not, consider now what it would mean to surrender wholly and fully to Him.

7. Sheep will lie down only when four requirements are met:

  • They must be free of all fear.
  • They must be free of friction with other sheep.
  • They must not be tormented by flies or other pests.
  • They must be free from hunger.

I can relate! If you can too, savor the words of the Psalmist: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:4).

  1. Sheep have a “butting order”—one ewe will be the head of the flock, and the rest of the sheep establish and maintain their position in the flock by butting and thrusting at those below them. Because of the competition for status, sheep cannot lie down and rest in contentment. However, when the shepherd is present, the sheep forget their rivalries and stop their fighting.

We too have a butting order, don’t we? Our society tells us to get ahead, be envious, want more, and be better than everyone else. We are all guilty of pettiness and jealousy sometimes, aren’t we? But when we stay close to the Great Shepherd, we too find contentment. Like Paul says in Philippians 4:12, we are able to say, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” When we are close to the Great Shepherd, we can “rejoice with those who rejoice” as scripture tells us to, without jealousy, envy or pettiness.

We are His sheep. Our Great Shepherd is the most perfect, kind, gentle, brave and selfless guide. We are happiest and healthiest when we spend time in His presence. When we trust the Great Shepherd, we can be free of all fear. We can let go of our friction with others. We can be free of our compulsion to get ahead, move up the ladder of whatever success we are striving for. We can be free to trust that His plan is the best and He will establish the work of our hands and the purposes of our lives without our selfish intervention.

When we follow the Great Shepherd, with our eyes fixed on Him, the torment of fear, worry, bitterness, or shame can no longer have power over us. We can be free of the hunger pangs of our soul because in Him we are truly satisfied. My friends trust in your Great Shepherd. He is altogether trustworthy. I am praying for you!


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