Okay yeah this is a terrible picture. I shot it on my phone and she was moving people. I'll try and get a better one here but this will just have to do for now. Made you look though didn't it? Ruby Sue had these darlings yesterday. And here's my point: It made me remember that Pastor Josh preached this past Sunday (Facebook live don't worry) on Psalm 23. Famous Psalm of course that begins with, "The Lord is my Shepherd..."
I'm not gonna even try to expound much on King David's writing here. You can go watch Josh's sermon if you want to or read the book, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" by Philip Keller if you need a good read during the quarantine. I will give you a few of my own observations of sheep though and a teensy bit of my shepherd's perspective. I love knowing that God chose the unlikely guy who just kept sheep to be the King of Israel. God called him a man after His own heart.
So did ya'll know that after a ewe has her lambs she gets super thirsty? I didn't know this until after having sheep for a while. (The poor dears that were my first.) Obviously her number one instinct after seeing her lambs and hearing them cry is to clean them off (she licks them) and make sure they nurse. The newborns are pretty wobbly to begin with. And a good mom won't leave her babies. It might take a couple to several hours before they are ready to really walk very far and she is comfortable enough with them to try and lead them with her to a water source, or just leave them close by to go get a drink and come back, even if said water source doesn't look that far away to the rest of us. She places their needs above her own. Even though she has this intense need after giving birth for water, she still won't leave her lambs to get herself a drink. She's often hungry too. Especially if she happened to have her babies in a field that doesn't have super nice grass at that time for whatever reason. If you were to bring feed to the girls in this field, all the other ewes that haven't had their babies yet will run and gobble up all the food quickly, and the one that has just had her babies won't get any because she won't leave her young.
It's my job to take care of my sheep. They all know it too I might add. They are quite expressive. Actually sometimes they can be rather demanding. Whoever said sheep are stupid anyway? I don't think they are stupid. Sometimes they freak out and lose their heads. Sometimes they have moments where they don't use their heads or they display small thinking. But really any one of us can do the same thing under the right circumstances. That doesn't make us stupid though, just limited in our human understanding.
Look back at the very first picture at the beginning of this post and you will see on the left hand side of the image by Ruby Sue's head is a bucket. After I picked up her lambs and led her out of the field I got her a drink. She drank deeply too; must have been like at least a half a gallon if not more. Side note: Try picking up lambs and leading their mother out if she doesn't know you. Doesn't work people. Just saying. She wouldn't have it. Sheep call to their young using their voices; and their lambs answer them. Their lambs call if they can't find their moms; and they expect their moms to answer. In theory, if my sheep were to get mixed up somehow in the neighbor's flock, all I'd have to do is stand on one side and call while my neighbor stood on the other side and called to her flock and they'd all separate out. This is how they used to do it back when the Bible was written anyway, and shepherds grazed their sheep all over and the flock only went into the "fold" or pen at night. (Not that I'd want to try it! Ha! That could be major drama, and would probably only work if no intact males were involved, but hey you get the idea.)
After she had a few minutes to nosh on some fresh grass where she felt safe, I took Ruby Sue and her newborn lambs into the new barn Lance built just for the sheep. I gave her some grain and got her a bucket of water and some fresh hay and bedded them down for the night where they would be safe from coyotes and foxes and Mom could spend some time alone with her new littles and get a good meal.
Oh yeah I might add that in the process of carrying her lambs up into the barn I got poop on me. I didn’t realize this until after I put them down and raked my arm through it. For all you moms out there is was meconium. Sticky, black, tarry meconium. I’m still trying to get it out of that pink shirt. Ha!
Okay this isn't a great shot either, nor a particularly becoming one I might add. Sorry Ruby Sue. However, it is a look of contentment. Ruby Sue has grain all over her mouth and nose and her tongue is sticking out licking her lips. You just can't tell this because there again it's a phone picture and the light is low.
So about Psalm 23... "The Lord is my Shepherd..."
David wrote from a shepherd's perspective about how God takes good care of us, just as a good shepherd takes care of his (or in this case her) sheep. David knew how he would care for and protect his sheep. And are you kidding me?! David killed a lion and a bear both! He snatched the lambs right out of their mouths and saved them! And he didn't even have a gun! Hero shepherd. Maybe I'll be like that one day when I grow up. Okay maybe not. I'm just glad I don't have to sleep in the field with one eye open and only a shepherd's crook, a few rocks and a sling for protection against predators big enough to consider eating me too. (Surely David would have also slept with a big knife, right?) I'll keep my electric fence and my gun thank you very much.
So Psalm 23. Yes.
I personally think David was reminding himself that God would look after him in much the same way that he knew he would look after and care for his own sheep. Maybe it's time I took a lesson from my own Ruby Sue then. She may not understand why I do everything I do; but at least she has the trust in me to know that I'll look after her and that I have her best interests at heart. Sure it's just an analogy. I'm not the expert on where the analogy stops and where it starts. But it's an analogy nonetheless. My sheep know me. They know my voice and they follow me. They trust me and they know I will take care of them. Maybe it's time I trusted God the same. I think this time just like David I'll remind myself,
"The Lord is My Shepherd..."
I'm Debbie. I love listening to chickens cackle and sing. I love Lindt chocolate truffles, a good cup of coffee, and a good book.