(from the Sheep Tales Series)
by Lygia Lovelace
heard her call. It was a desperate cry at first, but then
it became weaker and weaker until it was only slightly louder
than a kitten's mew…sad, lonely, hopeless. The Shepherd
had to travel a long stretch of land to reach her, but He
didn't seem to mind. With concern written on His brow, He
journeyed across the steep hills and narrow valleys of her
howling in the distance did cause Him concern however. He
knew they were after the ewe, ready to tear flesh away from
flesh and to pick her bones apart. He knew there wasn't
He was there. She looked up at Him gratefully, knowing her
life had been spared. Gently He lifted her and turned her
over. The blood had left her feet and legs by now; she was
unable to stand. So He embraced her, holding her firmly
upright, causing the circulation to flow once again throughout
her body. Encouragement pulsated through her. Her strength
had come. He had saved her.
on a "sheep kick" for several months now. I'm
not sure what started it. Perhaps it was the sobriety of
the sheep and goats passage in Matthew 25. Or maybe the
peacefulness of Psalm 23 lured me to those still waters.
it was that inspired me, I began to look up every verse
I could find on sheep and shepherds. What is the significance
of sheep in the Bible? Why does the Father call us His sheep?
Why is He the Good Shepherd? Who are the goats? Why is Jesus
sheep habits began to fascinate me: mothering-up, cast sheep,
going under the rod, drinking the dew…the spiritual significance
of these concepts have left me pondering…and changed.
I just want to be a sheep.
know what a cast sheep is? It is a sheep that has grown
so fat from past feedings, or is in such dire need of a
haircut, that her body has grown too large for her legs
to support her. She rolls over helplessly on her side, and
then she can't regain her footing. She is forced to remain
there, belly up, feet cast to the side…
can believe the predators have been watching. The coyotes,
the hawks and buzzards are there, waiting for her strength
to wane. They are sure they will soon gain a hearty feast:
fresh lamb. They can't wait to devour one who has succumbed
to the heaviness that surrounded her. They hover quietly,
waiting for death to overcome her desire to live…
enough, the precious ewe's cries are weakening. Until the
Good Shepherd rescues her, just in time.
ever feel like a cast sheep? What has caused this sudden
lack of balance? This inability to stand?
for the sheep, it is not the trial in her life. Hard
times have not overtaken her so much that they have knocked
her over! Unbearable grief has not stricken her mercilessly.
My friend, it is not the circumstance…
condition of her being. Don't you see? She is not able to
stand the test because she has not taken care to protect
her stance. Even a slight breeze will entangle her. She
just simply…falls over.
is a discipline, my friend. Growth in Christ is our responsibility.
Day by day when we are grazing on the Word of God, the Good
Shepherd uses it to feed us -- but we must then gain our
exercise and fitness by DOING the Word -- living it out
-- pointing the way to it. We simply must keep our
hearts firm and strong so that when hard times come…
not cast sheep.
this sheep that is so precious to her Shepherd has eaten
too much. This can occur, particularly after babies are
born to the ewe. She becomes a little lazy, a little too
preoccupied with her own desires. She grazes without much
thought to the dangers…the predators that certainly are
ever vigilant to her lack of attention.
her wool just needs trimming. A haircut is not fun for a
sheep. Long wool is a snarly, tangly, heavy mess. Haircuts
are invasive, a little frightening, and they require standing
still. An active ewe feels she is just too busy,
too preoccupied, to stand still.
not much fun for the Shepherd either, you know. Cutting
a sheep's wool is a smelly, dirty job. It takes time and
careful attention. Ticks and pests must be destroyed, infestations
must be discovered…it is a long process. And sometimes the
sheep just doesn't want to cooperate. But the Shepherd is
committed to the sheep.
enjoyable…this cleansing process…but it is a necessary process,
in order for the sheep to keep control of her footing: in
case of hard times, in case of a fall, in case the predators
be strong. She must stand.
some of the Good Shepherd's sheep are dying. They are starving
out in the field. Did you know that? They can't exercise
the Word of God because they don't have the energy…why?
Why are they so weak?
they have simply forgotten to graze.
starving themselves on the poverty of the world, when the
Word is there, in fields of green!
the Good Shepherd grieves! His own flock refuses to eat.
His own sheep pen -- the church of our nation…His very bride.
Distracted by every other thing, she is wasting away into
skin, and bones, and destruction.
the predators rejoice! Oh how the enemy laughs when the
sheep forget to eat. Not even a breeze of temptation will
be needed to cast these sheep to depression, to fear, to
bitterness and anger against a Holy Shepherd.
the Shepherd grieves, standing there in the field, waiting
for the weakening calls…
hungry? Whether you are or not…
my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am
declares the Sovereign Lord.
not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.
all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
I Peter 5:7
Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace.
All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com