Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 21, Shepherd

By Elizabeth Prata

This section of verses that show Jesus’ life are focused on His earthly ministry. We’ve seen Him as servant, teacher, and now shepherd.

thirty days of Jesus day 21

Ligonier: In the bosom of the Shepherd, Isaiah 40:11 devotional

Spurgeon’s Devotional on Isaiah 40:11

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Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher

Posted in theology

A Day in the Life of a: Shepherd

By Elizabeth Prata

Third in a series

What was a day in the life like for a person who lived in New Testament Bible times? It depended on what trade the person made their living. The first time I looked at the woman of Thyatira, Lydia, a seller of purple. Then we looked at tanners, such as Simon the Tanner whom Peter lodged with. Today I’m interested in what a day in the life of a shepherd would be like.

sheep1
EPrata photo

Shepherding is one of the oldest professions in the Bible. The first was gardener or overseer. God told Adam to keep the Garden (Genesis 2:15). Shepherd is mentioned second. Genesis 4:2 says, “Now Abel was a keeper of flocks…”

Many of the men and women of the Bible were shepherds. Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Lot, Laban, Moses, Rachel, David, Amos are a few examples of shepherds in the Bible. Of course we know the angels came to announce the birth of Christ to unnamed shepherds protecting their flocks by night near Bethlehem.

Life in Palestine was lived mainly outdoors, and animal husbandry was a major occupation. Even so, by the time of Jesus, that profession was considered unskilled. Shepherds were relegated to the lower socio-economic strata of society. It is therefore poignant that God chose to send angels to shepherds for the first announcement of the Savior’s appearance on earth.

Shepherding was hard.

The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. King James Bible Dictionary

David mentions that one duty of the shepherd was to protect the sheep from predators, of which there were many. Lions, bears, wolves, hyenas, and leopards were all interested in a sheep dinner. Sheep won’t fight back, run, or hide. Instead, when a predator appeared, they gather together, giving the predator a big choice on which sheep to pick for his dinner.

sheep 4
EPrata photo

David said he had protected the flock from lions and bears, single-handedly fighting off both at different times (1 Sam 17:34-37). Wolves were the worst enemy of the flock. They were more numerous than lions or bears. They were canny, constant, and fierce. They rarely left off trying to invade the fold and make off with a lamb or young sheep. Wolves are often mentioned in scripture as a symbol of treachery.

In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs.
King James Bible Dictionary

Water was always in short supply in desert lands. That is why it was a special trouble for Isaac when the Philistines, who envied his healthy flocks and herds, stopped up the wells. (Genesis 26:14-15). And it couldn’t be just any water, running water as in a stream or river would spook the sheep. They prefer still water, but it also has to be clean.

The shepherd is not only always on guard against predators (of which are also the human kind, thieves) but he or she must protect the sheep from themselves. If a sheep falls into running water, it will drown, their wooly coats soak up quickly and sheep cannot swim. He needs to be led to calm waters. (Psalm 23:2-3).

Drinking from puddles would give the sheep parasites and they become ill. If the shepherd moves his flocks to the pasture early enough in the morning, the dew-laden grass would contain enough moisture for the sheep.

sheep 3
EPrata photo

Sheep eat a lot of grass, they are totally focused on eating. Because they are so absorbed in nibbling grass, all day, all the time, one or two usually tend to wander away from the flock and get lost. (Luke 15:3-6).

After eating, the sheep needs to digest what he has eaten by lying down, but sometimes he won’t lie down on his own. He needs to be made to lie down. (Psalm 23:2-3).

At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1 Samuel 17:34). King James Bible Dictionary

A good shepherd also delivers the lambs, (Isaiah 40:11), grooms and shears the sheep. (Deuteronomy 18:4; 1 Samuel 25:4)

He has an extra incentive to be extra vigilant. If a sheep goes missing, and the shepherd cannot prove it was shredded by predators, the shepherd must pay for the sheep himself. (Genesis 31:38-39, Exodus 22:10-13). That is one reason he is so careful to count them as he brings them into the fold at night. He uses the rod or staff to lower on each one in a careful count. He also runs the rod along the wool so he can examine the condition of the skin and the wool.

When his day is done and all sheep are accounted for, whatever kind of sheepfold he has brought he flock into (enclosed shed, circle of stones with a crude roof of boughs of thorns, cave, etc) the shepherd will sleep across the door to protect the sheep while they sleep. If a predator tries to enter, the shepherd will awaken and beat it back. He will do the same against thieves too. (John 10:1-2).

Sometimes the shepherd will mix in with other shepherds and split the night watches. It is not a problem separating out the sheep the next morning as the sheep know their own shepherd’s voice. (Genesis 29:1-3; John 10:27-28).

When Jesus preached using shepherd allusions, the local people all over Palestine knew exactly what He was speaking about. There are many examples of shepherds and their duties (which were numerous and constant) so it is no wonder that the word ‘pastor’ is often used interchangeably with shepherd.

A day in the life of a shepherd was strenuous, but worthwhile. God chose to give many of our Bible heroes the job of shepherd, and to One, He gave the highest job of all. Jesus is THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. (John 10:11-18)

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Previous entries in the series:

A Day in the Life of a: Seller of Purple

A Day in the Life of a: Tanner

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 21, Shepherd

This section of verses that show Jesus’ life are focused on His earthly ministry. We’ve seen Him as servant, teacher, and now shepherd.

thirty days of Jesus day 21

Ligonier: In the bosom of the Shepherd, Isaiah 40:11 devotional

Spurgeon’s Devotional on Isaiah 40:11

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Throwback Friday: A Tale of Two Shepherds

This essay first appeared on The End Time on November 17, 2011

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Prophecy of the Shepherds

sheep grazing at dawn

The LORD said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.
“Woe to the worthless shepherd,
Who leaves the flock!
A sword shall be against his arm
And against his right eye;
His arm shall completely wither,
And his right eye shall be totally blinded.” (Zechariah 11:17).

That is the Antichrist. In Daniel 11:36 we see more about this foolish, worthless shepherd.

“Then the king [the foolish shepherd] will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.”

“Jesus said of this worthless shepherd, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” (John 5:43)

O, such blindness to reject the True Shepherd for a man of character so evil, so foolish, so worthless! What they gave up:

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11).

Look what He does for His sheep! “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)

He is the Good Shepherd!

“Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 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. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:1-18)

You can be in the flock, cared for by the Overseer of Souls! You can be carried in the bosom of the One who lives in glory! If you repent of your sins and submit to the Shepherd, you will be.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (John 10:28)

Follow Him!

Glory to Jesus, the Highest!

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Do the sheep really know what the Shepherd does for them?

A list on this Father’s Day. If you’re saved, Jesus is the best Father.

sheep

The image of God as a shepherd points to his continual direction, guidance and care for his people.

Shepherd as a title for God-
Ps 80:1 See also Ge 49:24; Ecc 12:11

God’s people are his flock-
Israel is God’s flock Ps 95:7 See also Ps 79:13; 100:3; Jer 50:7; Eze 34:31

The church is God’s flock 1Pe 5:2 See also Lk 12:32; Ac 20:28-29

The tasks undertaken by God the shepherd-
The shepherd leads and guides Ps 23:2-3 See also Isa 40:11

The shepherd provides Ps 23:1 See also Ge 48:15; Ps 23:5-6; Hos 4:16; Mic 7:14

The shepherd protects Ps 28:9 See also Ge 49:23-24

The shepherd saves those who are lost or scattered Jer 31:10 See also Ps 119:176; Isa 53:6; Eze 34:11-16; Mt 18:12-14 pp Lk 15:3-7

The shepherd judges Eze 34:17-22 See also Jer 23:1; Zec 10:2-3; 11:16; Mt 25:32-46

God gives shepherds to be leaders over his people-
He gives David’s line Eze 34:23 See also 2Sa 5:2 pp 1Ch 11:2; Ps 78:70-72; Eze 34:23-24; 37:24; Mic 5:4; Mt 2:6

He gives individual leaders Isa 44:28; 63:11

He gives faithful leaders Jer 3:15 See also Jer 23:4; 1Pe 5:2-4

Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Repost- The First Blood and the Last Blood

Posted Christmas Eve 2015

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The first human blood shed in the Bible was a shepherd’s blood, shed by one who rejected God in jealousy and anger.

Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. (Genesis 4:2b)
And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. (Genesis 4:10)

The Death of Abel – Gustave Doré (1832-83)

The last blood needed for sin’s atonement was the blood of Jesus.

and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:12-14)

But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

Chris Powers, fullofeyes.com

The Last Blood. Listen to it entirely. It builds to a devastating climax.