The Sheep and the Shepard
This morning lessons come from a section of scripture that even most of the world knows about because it used at most funerals. In fact most of the people in here can probably quote all or part of this Psalm.
Psalm 23:1-A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.† 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.† 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.† 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.† 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.† 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
The words found in this Psalm are very comforting and most people can see how this† passage relates to them. It from this passage that we are going talking about the difference between† a Shepard and a sheep. First† I want to ask you a couple of questions. How many of you in here have ever Shepard sheep? How many of you know someone who have Shepard sheep?
It would be safe for me to say that the majority of the people here donít know a whole lot about Shepards or sheep. The only thing we do know is what we have read about or taught about by others. I would image all of have seen a picture of Jesus holding a sheep. This is how many would visualize Psalm 23.
Psalm 100:3 ††ÖWe are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Since the Bible teaches that† we are like sheep we need† to explore sheep are all about.
First all being called a sheep is not the most complementing term a person can have because sheep are very dumb. The are probably one of the lest intelligent animals that God created. Have you ever seen a trained sheep?
Little Boe peep has lost her sheep
And doesnít no where to find them
Leave them alone and the will never make there way home.
That is the way that poem should read because they cannot find their home. Once they get outside their group they are lost and they have no idea what to do. They are not smart they have sense of direction and they will not find their way home.
Sheep are weak and helpless. I am sure you have seen signs that say beware of Dog but have you ever seen a sign beware of sheep? Of course not. I donít think I have heard of aggressive† sheep. If you read hunting magazines you run across stories how people have barely escaped with their lives after encountering bears or lions but I donít think† you ever read an article about how some sheep attacked someone.
Think about some of the sayings that people use to indicate strength Some would say your as bold as lion or you are strong as an Ox as far as I know I have never heard someone use a sheep to indicate someone being strong.
One last one think about a football coach trying to fire his team to win the game. Could you imaging him saying were going to fight like sheep tonight. A coach would never say this because sheep very vulnerable and defenseless.
Some animals are fast while others have sharp claws but sheep donít even have a good growl. They are so helpless that they are at the mercy of any animal that comes along.
Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow
Again this is not true not only are Sheep weak and helpless they are dirty. Their wool isnít nice and fluffy instead its greasy and every thing sticks to it. Other animals try to clean themselves but not a sheep and because of this they stink and unless someone washes them they will remain dirty. Now that I have described how sheep is weak, helpless, dirty and stinky donít you think that is good description of us. No its not flattering but thatís the way humans are without the help of a Shepard.
Isaiah 53:† 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.† 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.† 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.† 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
We are not smart to know all the devils tricks were not even smart enough to know what is going to happen tomorrow and were certainly not capable of directing our own steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 †23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
Without Gods help we be like the sheep we† would remain dirty it only through the help of the Shepard Jesus Christ that we could be made clean because we cannot† purify ourselves. You see ever single person in this room and in the world needs help from the Shepard. Notice what Paul tells Timothy.
2 Tim. 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:† 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,† 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,† 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,† 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Paul was talking about what was happening then and is still happening today and if we just go about like sheep without a Shepard we will find ourselves being one the type of people that Paul had just described.
2 Timothy †18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
The only way you and I can be safe or save today is through God help and no other way.
Isaiah 41:13 ††13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'
Sheep can become frightened really easy and if they donít have Shepard when trouble comes they will scatter. That is we being like sheep need to stay close to our Shepard and allow him to comfort so that we donít scatter and become lost.
Think about Job for a minute. Here a man that everything a person could desire. He a good family he had all the money he needed and he was well respected with those around him. But in instant all that he has was taking from him. The same thing can happen to us today because we just donít know what tomorrow will bring. You could lose job or even your family. How can we possible live not knowing what tomorrow may bring? Its because we have Shepard we can trust in God knowing that in the end all things will work out for the God. I really believe that Job probably would had killed himself if didnít have God as his Shepard.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
This is the most wonderful thing we can have as Christians know that we have a Shepard that will comfort us no matter what we go through in this life.† He will be there for us.
Another interesting Psalm 23 is where its says He leads me beside the still waters. You have to understand that sheep are afraid of running water and a Shepard has to lead them to quiet body of water so they will drink. In similar manner God knows what we are afraid he knows our weaknesses and will not allows us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.
Did you know that if a sheep fall on his back that he cannot get up by himself. The Shepard has to help turn him over and if he has been on his back for long while the Shepard will massage his legs to help him stand up. In the same way God find us on our back sometimes and it is only through his help that we can stand before him as we should.
Now let† talk about the Shepard. The Shepard is the leader and the sheep will follow him. Another thing you need to know about sheep is that they can driven like cattle however they will follow their Shepard because they trust him and they know his voice.
†John 10:1 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.† 2 "But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.† 3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.† 4 "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.† 5 "Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
The Shepard knows his sheep and the sheep know their Shepard and will not follow a stranger. Today we should know our Shepard and pay attention to what he tells us to do by reading and studying Gods word. Jesus loves us and knows what is best for us but if we are going to be able to recognize his voice or his words from a strangers then we must students of the Bible.
John 10: 11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.† 12 "But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.† 13 "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.† 14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.† 15 "As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
Without a doubt Jesus Christ is our Shepard and we shall not want. You see the Shepard is willing to give his life for his sheep and that is exactly what Jesus did for every single one of us. Notice the difference between a hireling and Shepard The hireling would be one who would be paid to watch the Shepards sheep for a short while but since they were not his sheep if a wolf or some sort of enemy came along a hireling would run away but as we pointed out the Shepard would fight for his sheep until he died because the sheep belong to him and loves them very much. As Christians today it should give us great joy and comfort know† that Jesus is our Shepard and that he know all of us by name and that he will always be there for us.
Matthew 28:18-20 †18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.† 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Luke 15:3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:† 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?† 5 "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.† 6 "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'
The Shepard is committed to all his sheep. He could just say ah who care I have 99 what is 1 sheep to me but instead he takes the time to go find the one sheep because ever sheep is important to him. Ever lost soul is important to God and he wants everyone to be saved. I also love how the Shepard doesnít scold the sheep when he finds it instead he comforts it and puts it over his shoulder. Etc
Matthew 11:28-30 ††28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.† 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.† 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."