Anyone Can Blog ~ Commenting Is Hard
I’m setting this to post on Saturday, assuming we’re still here.
Camp Geezer is a Goat-Free-Zone but we do have some sheep that are pretty entertaining.
I lived near some sheep when I was a kid. They are the stupidest and most vulnerable pack animals ever created.
Makes me wonder why Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, and we are his sheep who know his voice. Back then, sheep would be kept in a communal village stone-walled pen for safety at night, and be called out by the shepherds’ voices to forage. The shepherd didn’t have to sort out which sheep were his, they weren’t branded; he just called and his sheep would come out. They were stupid and vulnerable, but they knew the shepherd’s voice.
There’s some kind of message in that.
It all ties back to the whole OT concept of the Shepherd King (starting with David), which is pretty interesting as well.
BTW, the reason David was able to challenge and kill Goliath (the Philistine giant), is not so much the miraculous event that we sometimes think today. Shepherds like David would use slings to protect the flock from predators. Slings are a deadly and accurate weapon if you practice enough, they don’t require a lot of physical strength, and the ammunition is free. Back then, there were lions in Israel. A shepherd would practice a lot.
Dang, I could have written a Christmas post and called it “The Shepherd King.”
Ever wonder why the angels first announced the birth of the Messiah to shepherds?
Or why Jesus describes the efforts a shepherd will make to rescue a lost sheep that he owns, as opposed to a hireling shepherd?
Why Abel’s sacrifice of a firstborn sheep was pleasing to God, as opposed to Cain’s sacrifice?
Or why John, upon seeing Jesus for the first time, says “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”?
Oh well. I have to haul some dead banana trees out to the curb. Suffice it to say that sheep are mentioned way more times in the Bible, over thousands of years of history, than any other animal.
BTW, Israel also had cattle in bible times, the most significant herd animal for many cultures, but somehow they did not have the theological significance of sheep in the Bible.
I would like to ask God, “What’s up with your sheep thing? You dissed the cattle.”
Nice insight into teh sheeps.
There is an awesome book called ‘A Shepherd looks at the 23rd Psalm’. It explains some things that everybody understood back in the day that we don’t understand in the modern world.
For instance, ‘He leads me beside still waters’… uh ok, what does that mean?
Sheep are fearful creatures, they won’t drink out of raging torrents or bubbling brooks. They need peaceful streams.
Or, also from Psalm 23:
“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.”
The “valley of the shadow of death” was the name of a dangerous portion of the old road up to Jerusalem where a misstep could involve a lethal fall over a precipice. Everybody knew about it, because they all made pilgrimages to the temple. (Reminds me of some Class 5 jeep trails in Colorado that I probably should not have been on with a Ford Explorer.)
The rod or staff is not referring to weapons, but tools used by the shepherd to keep the stupid sheep in line and safe.
Today there are modern and safe highways up to Jerusalem and that valley is no longer a hazard.
The bible often says “up” to Jerusalem not for some symbolic reason, but because it is literally true. Jerusalem is on a ridge that is the high elevation between the coastal plain to the west (where Tel Aviv now is) and the Jordan River Valley/Dead Sea to the east. It was an uphill climb to get to the temple for a sacrifice, atonement and purification. An image we Christians should maybe keep in mind — we’re walking uphill to Jerusalem as well. Through the valley of the shadow of death.
Goats – the original parkour runners.
I heard that the shepherd would use that rod to break the leg of one of his wandering sheep and carry it around on his shoulders until it healed.
Forgot the symbolism for that though.
The Lord disciplines those whom he loves, as a father loves his son.
Hebrews 12: 5-7
Which is why Paul says, in Romans somewhere, that the chosen people got treated so badly by God.
By “chosen people” I mean, of course, that Paul was referring to the Jews and the Lutherans.
If you haven’t seen Star of Bethlehem you really should. Really.
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