Yolanda at Joy Comes in the Morning is facilitating a study of the Names of God from Kay Arthur's book LORD I Want To Know You. I am also studying from the book Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler and sharing what I learn from both studies.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." Even non-believers recognize these words from Psalm 23:1. In this study we looked at Jehovah-Raah, The LORD My Shepherd. Throughout the bible God (Jesus) is referred to as a Shepherd, and His people are referred to as sheep. We're going to take a closer look at sheep too.
Kay referred to Phillip Keller's book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. This is a book I have wanted to read for some time but have yet to do so. Psalm 23:2 begins "He makes me to lie down in green pastures." According to Kay, Keller says that it is impossible for sheep to lay down unless four things are in place.
1. They are free from hunger.
2. They are free from fear.
3. They are free from friction or tension.
4. They are free from pests.
Sheep are easily aggravated and tormented by flies, parasites and other pests. This makes me think of the spiritual battle that we are in, and how we Christians often believe the lies of the enemy that lead us into paths of death. The enemy is a continuous irritant to us trying to discourage us, tempting us to do what is harmful, and attacking us in an attempt to overpower us.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
- Not very smart.
- Easily frightened.
- Good at getting lost.
- Easy prey.
- Know and trust their shepherd.
- Recognize their shepherd's voice.
- When their wool is thick they can fall over and not be able to get up. (They need help.)
- When their wool gets wet it can get so heavy that it can pull them down under the water and drown them. (Heavy burdens)
- Good at getting into trouble.
- Sheep will follow other sheep into danger or death (even knowingly) without thinking about how their actions will affect them. Ask a sheep "if your friend jumps off a cliff would you do it too?" The answer is "Yes!"
- Cares for his sheep.
- Watches over his sheep day and night.
- Feeds his sheep.
- Leads his sheep.
- Protects his sheep from danger, and predators.
- A shepherd will sleep laying across the gate's entryway so that anyone wanting to enter the pasture where his sheep are, will have to go through him first.
- Accounts for every sheep in his care.
- Picks them up when they fall down.
- Is gentle.
- Loves his sheep.
- Searches for his wandering sheep and brings them back.
- Talks to his sheep.
- Provides for his sheep.
- Lays down his life for his sheep.
Jesus, The Good Shepherd, became one of the flock, the sacrificial Lamb of God, in order to save us from our sins and lead us in paths of righteousness.
One thing that is amazing to me is that God entrusted the spreading of the Gospel throughout the whole world to mere sheep (us), and even the most powerful predator (Satan) of these not so bright, defenseless, fearful, stubborn sheep is unable to prevent it, and is unable to snatch even one of these sheep out of the Hand of the Good Shepherd.
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. John 10:14
I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Ezekiel 34:15-16
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:17
I so recommend both of these books if you plan to do this study.
"A girl needs to be so lost in God, that the guy is going to have to seek HIM to find her!" ...Maya Angelou