Psalm 23, continued
* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 23 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.”
Psalm 23:2, NKJV
Join me today as we continue walking alongside the Good Shepherd watching Him tend to His sheep. On our journey so far we’ve seen how sheep handle fear and worry and we’ve also seen how they relate to one another and how friction amongst the flock affects each one of them. Today let’s look at what happens to sheep if they are not properly taken care of.
There are many pesky flies and parasites that can aggravate a sheep to death if the sheep is not properly taken care of. The summertime is especially difficult for sheep. This is the time of year when they are tormented by bot flies, warble flies, nasal flies, and ticks. When bothered by these annoying flies it is almost impossible for a sheep to lie down and rest in peace. Their time is spent shaking their heads back and forth and stamping their feet in an effort to rid themselves of flies that persistently upset them.
Several years ago I worked for a veterinary supply warehouse. We supplied items for animals of all shapes, sizes, and types. On numerous occasions I sold sprays, ointments, face masks, liquid dips, fly traps, insecticide ear tags, and other products to sheep farmers who were trying their best to make the summertime bearable for their sheep. The care of the owner to his flock is what will get his sheep through this hard time of the year.
This kind of care and attention calls for extra work on the part of the shepherd. He constantly has to examine each of his sheep making sure it doesn’t have fly eggs that have been embedded into their ears or ticks that have attached themselves to the skin of the sheep. I was amazed to hear the stories of the old time sheep farmers who had so much love for their sheep and knew them so well that they were aware the moment their sheep were bothered by flies, tick, or parasites because they had seen the behavior of their sheep change dramatically. These farmers had spent time with their sheep on a daily basis, knowing the behavior of each of them and knowing when they were in need of something. Those farmers who truly loved and cared for their sheep took care of the problems immediately, desiring the best for their flock.
There are going to be pesky irritations that, at times, will plague us in our Christian life. Pesky flies of worry and doubt, frustrations and insignificant arguments; the flies of pride and jealously, unforgiveness and blame can trouble us to the point of making us useless in God’s kingdom.
What can be done about these irritating, pesky flies? Can one be content and lie down in peace regardless of them? Absolutely yes! The presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers brings to us a comfort and healing that provides us relief from the annoyances of life. Philip W. Keller says it this way, “The gracious Holy Spirit makes real in me the very presence of the Christ. He brings quietness, serenity, strength, and calmness in the face of frustrations and futility.”
When we turn to the Shepherd who cares so deeply for us His sheep, and allow Him to examine our hearts and find the source of the problem, frustration, or annoyance, we will then be able lie down and rest. For it is the Good Shepherd who is able to apply the healing salve that we need to continue on in this journey called life. It is the Good Shepherd who is able to administer the antidote of His person to the very root of my problem. It is the Good Shepherd who is able to remove those pesky ticks who desire to suck the very life out of me. My friend, it is ONLY the Good Shepherd who is able to provide for me true healing, comfort, peace, and contentment.