The life of a shepherd is a difficult one.
In a previous post, I wrote that there are many shepherds in Israel. It was an ancient profession. The large number of sheep in the land during the days of the Bible can be understood when we remember that Job had fourteen thousand sheep (Job 42:12), and that King Solomon at the Temple’s dedication, sacrificed one hundred and twenty thousand sheep (I Kings 8:63).
Shepherds do their very best to protect their flocks from harm. In biblical days, caves and make-shift stone sheep pens were used to shield and protect the flock from outside predators. Shepherds today use stone terraces as well to gather their flock. The shepherd then serves as the gate of the pen. Micah 2 offers the imagery of this as a shepherd would allow his flock to leave the pen each morning.
Although sheep are dumb animals, they respond to their shepherd’s voice. However, when the sheep roam too far away from the Shepherd and can no longer hear him, they get lost. They lose their way back to the fold. hen this happens, the shepherd needs to go and search for the lost sheep.
This reminds us of the parable in Luke 15. Here is the parable:
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Jesus is the Shepherd who has come searching for us. Not able to save ourselves, He comes to our rescue … spiritual rescue. Despite our lostness, in His grace and love Jesus seeks us out.