Once again, the teacher in me feels the need to review. Here is our ongoing list of characteristics of sheep:
- Sheep don’t see very well.
- Sheep don’t hear very well.
- The biggest enemy of the sheep is the fox.
- Sheep are not very courageous. They panic easily. However, they are very resilient.
- Sheep are healthy and happy when their shepherd is gentle, kind, intelligent, brave, and selfless.
- Sheep are marked on the ear with the distinct mark of their shepherd.
- 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.
- 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.
Now, let’s continue our study of sheep.
- When sheep are thirsty, they become restless and begin to search for water. They will drink any water they can find—even polluted water that can cause disease—so a shepherd must lead them to clean, refreshing water that can satisfy them and keep them healthy. In our lives we get thirsty a lot, don’t we? What I mean is, we are easily discontent. We search for anything and everything that will fill us up, satisfy our discontent. But the problem is, often we look toward things that could never really satisfy.
- A sheep is “cast down” when it is turned over on its back and cannot get up again. A cast sheep will die if its owner does not get to it in time to right it. When the shepherd rights a cast sheep, he must rub her limbs to restore circulation so she can walk again. That’s where we get the word “downcast.” Have you ever been downcast, feeling that you have been knocked down and can’t get back up? Listen to what Psalm 42:5-6 says: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
- Sheep are very bothered by flies; a shepherd must apply an ointment to their heads to prevent flies from going up their noses. The more we are around garbage, the more flies will bother us. Get rid of the garbage, and the flies will flee. We can shoo away the flies, but they will only come back if the garbage remains. What garbage are you filling your mind and spirit with? Let the Lord convict you as to what needs to be purified in your daily life.
- Sheep are the most fit and healthy and strong in autumn. In autumn the leaves are so beautiful. But what is really happening? They are dying. We, too, are most fit, healthy, strong and beautiful when we die to our own selfish desires.
Once, a large audience waited expectantly for William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, to give a speech. He got up to the podium, cleared his throat, and said one word … others. Then, he sat back down. All were silent. Many sat stunned and irritated, as they had expected an eloquent speech. Others, those who were wisest, sat stunned and reflective, realizing the power and importance of that one word. Others. Dying to yourself will make you spiritually fit, healthy, strong, and beautiful.
Today, my friends, stay close to your Good Shepherd. Only He can meet your deepest needs. Only He can right your wrongs. Only He can put your downcast soul in an upright position. Only He can cleanse you of the garbage of life, which bring the pests of sin, shame, and condemnation. Only He can give you eyes to see and a heart to serve others. You have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify the Lover of your soul by trusting in Him, our Good Shepherd. Praying for you today!