Things Are Not Always What They Seem
Shepherds in the Middle East are constantly with their sheep. Even in this generation, many shepherds are with a flock daily to guard them and to make sure that they are receiving the best of care. Unlike, shepherds in the Western World, Eastern shepherds lead their flocks. They call them and they respond. They know them “often” by pet names since they spend so very much time with them.
Jesus is referred to as our “Good Shepherd”. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice….. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”…..“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:2-3;11;14).
Lynn Anderson, in “THEY SMELL LIKE SHEEP” relates this story:
“Several years ago in a tour of the Holy Land, Carolyn and I rode a tour bus through Israel’s countryside nearly mesmerized as the tour guide explained the scenery, the history, and the lifestyle. In his description, he included a heart-warming portrayal of the ancient shepherd/sheep relationship. He expounded on how the shepherd builds a relationship with his sheep—how he feeds them and gently cares for them. He pointed out that the shepherd doesn’t drive the sheep but leads them, and that the shepherd does not need to be harsh with them, because they hear his voice and follow. And so on…
He then explained how on a previous tour things had backfired for him as he was giving this same speech about sheep and shepherds. In the midst of spinning his pastoral tale, he suddenly realized he had lost his audience. They were all staring out the bus window at a guy chasing a ‘herd’ of sheep. He was throwing rocks at them, whacking them with sticks, and turning the sheep dog loose to go after them. The sheep-driving man in the field had torpedoed the guide’s enchanting narrative.
The guide told us that he had been so agitated that he jumped off the bus, ran into the field, and accosted the man, ‘Do you understand what you have just done to me?’ he asked. ‘I was spinning a charming story about the gentle ways of shepherds, and here you are mistreating, hazing, and assaulting these sheep. What is going on?’
For a moment, a bewildered look froze on the face of the poor sheep-chaser, then the light dawned and he blurted out, ‘Man. You’ve got me all wrong. I’m not a shepherd. I’m a butcher’” This poor unwitting fellow had just provided the tour guide and all of us with a perfect example of what a ‘good shepherd’ is not.” (Copied).
So grateful for the Good Shepherd caring for each of us as His own. And glad that those of us that know Christ can profess with joy, “The LORD is my Shepherd. I shall not want”.