Not Exactly Like Sheep

The word “sheep” is in the ESV
precisely 201 times. It is the name of a gate,
the Sheep Gate at Jerusalem. It appears in
various descriptions of personal property, as
in Job’s 7,000 sheep (and later his 14,000
sheep). It shows up in several psalms as a
simile describing an individual—or the
community—suffering under some sort of
duress, “You have made us like sheep for
slaughter” (Psalm 44:11). It also appears
metaphorically, usually as a depiction of those
who follow God as the true and holy
Shepherd, “For he is our God, and we are the
people of his pasture, and the sheep of his
hand” (Psalm 95:7). Though none of us (that I
know of) own or herd sheep, we know enough
about it to understand the reference. We may
not be able to relate to the activity of
physically caring for literal sheep, but we get
what scripture is saying when, for instance,
Jesus pronounces, “But he who enters by the
door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the
gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice,
and he calls his own sheep by name and
leads them out” (John 10:2-3). We even go so
far as to sing about it in many of our hymns, “I
am a sheep and the Lord is my shepherd /
watching over my soul” (#533), etc.
We are like sheep in many ways,
spiritually speaking. Yet we are not exactly like
sheep. In fact, Jesus confirms in Matthew 12
that we are far more valuable than sheep. To
God, we have infinite value—eternal value.
We mean so much to our holy God that he
gave everything for us so that we may live
forever in his presence.
What great peace we can have
knowing how much we mean to God! –Ricky

Share This