Why It Matters to Know About Sheep
- June 23, 2019
- Jared Odenbeck
In New Zealand, there are a lot of sheep. I see them whenever I venture outside of the city and into the bare, golden, and rolling hills of the countryside. These creatures appear in Scripture often, and Jesus calls us sheep. If we are akin to something to the degree that our LORD identifies us with it, we ought to familiarize ourselves with it. And, we ought to learn from it.
So, with that, I want to ask and answer two questions. What do sheep do, and what is life like as a sheep?
Sheep lie down. Specifically, sheep lie down in green pastures. They roam free, but where do they roam? They roam under the jurisdiction of fencing or of shepherding. In true shepherding, there is no fencing. The shepherd moves from place to place with the sheep, gathering all those that are his to himself. They need a shepherd in order to remain with the flock and not to become lost, for sheep go astray and are wayward creatures that wander aimlessly in search of new pastures and new feed.
The daily life of a sheep entails eating, sleeping, and resting. Sometimes, in due season, sheep are sheared, not all that unakin to the process of pruning in gardening. They are “pruned” – that is, sheared – so that their wool might be harvested – their metaphorical fruit and much of their value – so that they might grow more. The shepherd knows when it is time to shear. If the sheep is sheared in the cold, and it wanders from the flock in search of comfort and refuge, it will become cold. If it stays with the flock and the shepherd, the collective ensures the sheep remains warm and with cover. A predator may also seek to devour the sheep, but a shepherd will protect the sheep. The lone sheep, however, stands no chance – he will be mutilated at the hands of his foe in his own strength.
Sheep respond to the voice of a shepherd. They know his voice. He alone can call them to himself, they will not believe or obey another.