Isaiah 53:6 – We all, like sheep, have gone astray.
In her book, Raising Sheep the Modern Way, British Columbian Paula Simmons presents a nuts-and-bolts explanation of the vocation, including such topics as fences, feeds, lambing positions, parasites, hoof care, shearing, and mutton recipes. Yet even in such a secular setting (and, admittedly, in my present mind-set), references to the lives and weaknesses of sheep easily trigger a more spiritual, in fact scriptural, interpretation:
"In comparison to other animals, sheep are more resistant to bacterial and viral diseases, but more susceptible to internal parasites." (p. 160)
"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'" (Matthew 15:19-20)
"One visible sign of worms is "bottle jaw" (swelling under the jaw). It is a final warning that the sheep have worms severe enough to cause deaths." (p. 163)
"A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy." (Proverbs 29:1)
"Many foot disease conditions can be prevented by proper and periodic hoof trimming" (p. 180)
"A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. (John 13:10)
"Be concerned if a sheep is lying down most of the time, when the others are not." (p.189)
"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle." (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Forget about the "evolved from monkeys" debate; we appear to be the spiritual "clones" of sheep!
Prayer: Good Shepherd, my awareness of similarities to actual sheep humbles me, amuses me, and causes me to marvel at your incomprehensible, enduring love. Despite the pitiful bleat of my prayers, You never fail to meet with me, listen to me, mend me, and patiently guide me. Truly, my cup overflows. Amen.