What sports team is named the Lambs? We have Lions, Tigers, Bears, Eagles, even the Rams, but not the Lambs. We like to be identified with the aggressive, invulnerable, macho types of animals.
Several years ago Candid Camera hid their camera in a high school counselor’s office. Students had taken an aptitude test and were brought in one at a time to learn what the test revealed. Each one was told, “The test shows you would excel as a shepherd.” The camera focused on their shocked looks! Who would want to spend their life taking care of these homely things! Yet God says we are like sheep and He likens Himself to a loving Shepherd (Psalm 23).
More Facts About Sheep
In Sheep (1) we saw that sheep are and always have been dependent creatures. Abel, the second generation, was a keeper of the sheep.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:2) Sheep will not lie down in green pastures until dangers and annoyances are past and until their stomachs are full. They take in large quantities of grass, then lie down in the pasture to ruminate. This is the process of bringing up from the rumen (first part of the stomach) that which was swallowed and chewing it more thoroughly. Once it is chewed, the food passes through the other parts of the stomach to be digested.
This is a beautiful picture of what God wants us to do with His Word. We are to read and memorize it, then mull it over in our minds throughout the day. This is Biblical meditation and God promises special blessings to those who meditate on His Word and heed what it says. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:97; 1 Timothy 4:15, etc.)
Are Sheep Really Afraid of Water?
Being fearful creatures, sheep can easily be frightened by swirling water. Yet, they don’t like stagnant water either. Interestingly, in some areas sheep don’t need to drink for weeks at a time because they get sufficient water through the still, morning dew on the grass. “He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
Because sheep tend to eat until they damage a pasture, the shepherd must move them regularly. In mountainous areas, the lowlands have the early grass. As summer arrives, shepherds move their flock up into the cooler higher pastures. Of course, where there are hills, there are valleys and valleys can be dangerous. The shepherd is aware of this and keeps each sheep on the safe path. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
How Do Sheep Protect Themselves?
Animals have a variety of ways to protect themselves. Some dig, some run, some stink, some poke, some claw, some fly, some are strong and fight, etc. But sheep have no means of protection. They are totally dependent on the shepherd to keep them away from predators. He will use a rod and a staff to protect them. The staff is long and the rod short. They are used both to ward off enemies and to discipline stubborn sheep. The same instrument can be both welcome and feared, depending on the sheep’s situation. “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
It is humbling to be likened to sheep by our Creator. But it is comforting to know we have a strong and loving Shepherd. (John 10:11, 14).