Monday, June 5, 2017

JUNE 5 "SHEEP OR SHEPHERD?"

“For they are but sheep” Why does David refer to the people as “sheep”.  If they are sheep, what is he? By calling them sheep David is making a distinction between himself and them. In other words, “they are sheep” and “I am not”, so bring the affliction on me”.  So if David is not a sheep, what is he inferring, to God? And of course you already know the answer to that, David is inferring that he is a Shepherd and they are but sheep. Jesus looked over Israel and was grieved for the people, for they were lost sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus is also inferring that He is not a sheep, but a Shepherd.  Moses also made a distinction between himself and the people of Israel. Moses was the Shepherd and the Israelites were the sheep that constantly went astray.  Isaiah writes, “all of us like sheep have gone astray”.  Amos made a distinction between himself and the people, he was a shepherd and they were sheep.  All 3 men, Moses, David and Amos, were both, literal Shepherds and figuratively. It seemed like an easy transition for Jesus to take men that had watched over helpless and vulnerable sheep and get them to transition over to watching and caring over, often, helpless and vulnerable humans. There is an interesting thought here, that is scary to even bring up; and that it is….sometimes “the sheep” are suffering because of decisions “the shepherd” has made. In our story seventy thousand lives perish because of the shepherd’s decision. I’m not sure how much of that side of the story ever got out to the people of Israel or how many knew? Shepherds are obviously there to protect the sheep. How many sheep do you know that have been hurt because of decisions the Shepherd has made? This is why this is scary to bring up because we don’t want a mutiny on our hands, Sunday morning in our churches. “You Mr. Shepherd, we are voting you off the island [so to speak], we read this week about how the sheep are hurt because of decisions the Shepherd makes and now that makes me think of that time….”  And you can see where it goes from there. However, before we get a chip on our shoulders, Shepherds have often been bit by the sheep, hurt and wounded also. (I know what you’re thinking, “it’s expected of the sheep, to bite, but not the Shepherd…and this is true). However, it’s a give and take relationship and God does not fire/remove David as Shepherd for his blunder as much as we would like. Just remember, what Jesus said, with the same measure you judge others; Jesus will use that same measuring scale/rod to judge you.  We can judge (contrary to what unlearned people might say) but remember, be careful, once you have passed a verdict, a judgment on someone else, even if it be true, God will say, “okay, you’re right, I will take care of this, but will now be watching you and measuring you to that standard also”.  Who is “the Shepherd?” Well, for sure The Pastor, is the head Shepherd in The Church but he doesn’t have to be the only one. A Shepherd is one who leads, cares and watches over Sheep. I was a Shepherd in my church long before I had the title “Pastor”. The point is, it is up to you to discern, “sheep or shepherd”. If you are a sheep, then don’t be a sheep that bites and if you are a Shepherd, don’t be a Shepherd that causes the sheep to be harmed. No matter where you fall under in this two categories, do your best to raise the bar, the standard, not bring it down.  Sheep or Shepherd? You decide and be the best one you can be.