Are You Feeling Sheepish?

June 6, 2012 at 10:03 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Psalm 23:4 (emphasis added)

Christians are like sheep, and the Lord is like our shepherd. His presence is comforting to us, but sheep must stay close to the shepherd. We must stay close to the Lord in the green pastures (times of freedom) and especially in the dark valleys (times of caution). Sheep can be preyed upon by wolves and lions. Wolves and lions do not fear sheep. They fear the shepherd. Stay close to the Shepherd at all times.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

In the presence of our Lord we are not only safe, but we may be bold – even when our enemies are also present. The dual presence of our Protector and our enemies is not cause for fear because our Protector is far stronger.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

Our Shepherd sanctifies us. He cleanses us, because, like sheep, we have a tendency to get very dirty. In Bible times, shepherds applied oil to their sheep to help keep insects and pests away.

It is somewhat embarrassing for us as human beings to see ourselves compared to helpless and unintelligent animals like sheep so often in Scripture, but we share many sheep-like characteristics:
-Sheep need reassuring. We need to be constantly reminding ourselves of God’s promises.
-Sheep get sick. We tend to get sick spiritually, finding ourselves repeating our mistakes, discouraged, unfocused.
-Sheep often need help from their shepherd when giving birth to their offspring. We are powerless to evangelize and disciple new believers without our Shepherd’s help.
-Sheep get tired and have to be made to lie down (Psalm 23:2). Our Shepherd often has to forcibly take away our distractions and place us into a place where we can be still, rest, and meditate on spiritual things.
-Sheep are responsive to their shepherd’s voice. We are guided, directed, and instructed by the Word of our Shepherd.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

John 10:3-5

Sheep do not see well.

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.

Psalm 23:4 (emphasis added)

A staff, as well as a rod, is needed. The shepherd’s “rod” is what we would think of as a “cudgel” or a “club.” The staff has a hook on the end. The rod is for clubbing attackers and the crook is for guiding, and for rescuing from dangerous places. In Bible times sheep would also pass under the staff each night for examination by the shepherd. We need to remember to ask the Lord to search our hearts each and every day.

Shepherding is hard work. It’s more than just lying around in a pasture playing a flute and writing poetry.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

It sounds like the Psalmist is changing his metaphor here. Why would sheep need a “table?” But the “table” might be a table rock – a safe, firm, flat place where the Shepherd can thoroughly examine the condition of the flock.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

Shepherds had large containers (or “cups”) for the sheep to drink from each night in the sheep-fold.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23:6 (emphasis added)

The Hebrew word translated as “follow” is radaph, which can mean “to pursue or chase after.” What a thrilling thought! If you are truly a Christian, God’s goodness and mercy will “hunt you down” all the days of your life!

Advertisements

4 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] even a pharmacist. Ointment was used in Bible times for ceremonial anointing, perfume, and even medicinal salve at times. The popular expression, “a fly in the ointment,” comes from this verse, and […]

  2. […] Praying in Prosperity and Predicaments 17. Faster than a Speeding Shadow 18. Sheep Need a Shepherd 19. Are You Feeling Sheepish? 20. The Shepherd Knows Where We Are Going 21. There Are Some Absolutes 22. The Early Bird Gets to […]

  3. […] we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the […]

  4. […] a comforting thought for us sheep. Not only is the Good and Great Shepherd watching over us, protecting us, providing for us, and […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: