Do you remember hearing about these three famous, ground breaking sheep?
Montauciel – the famous French sheep? Shrek – the infamous 59 1/2 pound sheep? Dolly – the first mammal cloned?
Here’s a refresher:
Montauciel, who’s name means “climb to the sky” in French, was used as guinea pig for the Mongolfier brothers in the 18th century who were experimenting with hot air balloons. The sheep was put in the basket, along with a duck and rooster and actually flew 2 miles at an altitude of 1,500 ft, before the balloon landed. All passengers were ok upon landing.
Shrek, lived on a wool farm in New Zealand with 17,000 other Merino sheep. These sheep are sheared once a year but Shrek was having none of it! He hid for 6 years as each yearly shearing time came. Seriously! After 6 years, in 2004 he was finally caught and shorn in 20 minutes. 59 1/2 pounds of wool came from him, enough to make 20 men’s wool suits.
Dolly, the sheep, was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell in 1996. She was used for medical research.
Now, I admit that I’m a city girl, but there is a lot to be learned from sheep. So baaaa-re with me.
Check out these characteristics of sheep, both good and baaa-d:
- Sheep experience emotions like humans. Fear, anger, rage, despair, disgust, boredom and happiness. They actually feel despair when their friends are led to the slaughter.
- Sheep are intelligent with impressive facial memory skills.
- Sheep have excellent hearing and can recognize their shepherd’s voice out of a crowd.
- Sheep have a strong instinct to follow the sheep in front of them – off a cliff or through water, makes no difference. They are hardwired to follow without even thinking.
- Sheep have poor depth perception; shadows and dips in the ground cause them to baulk.
- Sheep build friendships and stick up for one another in fights.
- Sheep are very social creatures and require the presence of 4-5 other sheep when they are grazing in order to maintain their visual link to each other.
- Sheep find safety in numbers and get agitated when separated.
- Sheep have excellent peripheral vision fields of 270-320 degrees.
- Sheep are susceptible to disease such as parasites when they are mismanaged.
- Sheep wag their tails, like dogs and form bonds with their shepherd.
Throughout history, humans have been compared to sheep. In ancient times kings were considered the shepherds of their kingdoms and the people his sheep.
In the Bible we see this played out with the twist the we (human’s) are the sheep of The Lord’s pasture.
“Know that the Lord is God. It is He who has made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of His pasture.”Psalm 100:3
Probably the most well known passage in the Bible about sheep and the shepherd is Psalm 23. And that passage is at the heart of this message.
When I was recently reading this passage, I was struck with over 11 things that the shepherd does for the sheep! The entire psalm is one in which the Shepherd takes the initiative and responsibility for the care, protection, provision, supervision and defense of the sheep in his/her flock. Check it out.
Here is the list I made in my notebook of what Our Shepherd does for us, His sheep:
- He provides everything I need. I don’t go without anything that I need. He is my friend.
- He makes me lie down – whether I think I need to rest or not, He knows I do and makes stretch out.
- He leads me – he actually is in front of me leading me to the goal or watering place where I will find rest.
- He refreshes my soul – he renews me in my weariness and allows strength to return to me.
- He guides me – again he’s waaaay ahead of me, guiding me along the bumpy path.
- In the valley, He is with me – when shadows and darkness overwhelm me, He is right there with me.
- Both his rod and staff bring me comfort – his rod corrects me and his staff supports me – both bring me comfort and repentance when needed.
- In the face of my enemies, he orders and arranges all that I need to be sustained.
- He puts oil on my head providing healing, acceptance and sweet fragrance.
- He promises goodness and love will always have my back.
- AND, he wants to live with me forever! Not just here in this pen on this planet.
Wouldn’t you agree that the sheep have a pretty good gig?
The shepherd totally has the sheep covered. The sheep do so very little and are so dependent on the shepherd. Yet there is a sweet, personal relationship between each sheep and their shepherd that makes the sheep wag it’s tail in happiness and satisfaction when close to their shepherd or listening to his voice.
The precious, tender, reality of these verses demonstrate the Lord’s patient, conscious, willful, loving, strong, and complete care for us – his sheep.
I was and continue to be overwhelmed by my careful shepherd.
I trust “the wool not be pulled over your eyes” and you too, rest confidently in the complete care and provision of your Great Shepherd.
Cheers to you.
For a complete downloadable Bible study on the 23rd Psalm, go to my Bible studies and click on the file.