Last time, we saw that sheep…
* are not very intelligent and are not trainable,
* need constant supervision,
* have a strong instinct to follow a leader,
* have no sense of direction and will wander off, getting into trouble,
* and will follow the one in front of him even if it goes over a cliff.
Let’s see what other characteristics they have.
Their non-aggressive temperament exhibits itself as being gregarious, calm, and easy to manage creatures. Because they love to be a part of the gang, a sheep will become agitated if it is separated from the group.
…are loving and love affection…
The sense of touch seems to be important to sheep because they seek bodily contact with a daily touch from their shepherd. They love their shepherd and can often be found lingering at his feet, awaiting a pat on the head. They will even rub against his leg and wag their tails.
They learn to recognize the voice of their shepherd as He regularly speaks gently to them and calls them each by name. They follow him because they know he will take care of them.
Because they are defenseless, they make easy prey for their enemies and are very vulnerable to fear. With no means of self-defense, their natural instinct causes them to run.
A lone sheep is doomed. Needing protection from predators, they use their herding instinct to stick close to each other for safety and depend on their shepherd as their defense against their enemies, as he uses his staff to keep the sheep in line and within safe boundaries and his rod to ward off the predators.
As we read last time, where one sheep goes, the rest are sure to follow. So, because they are fearful, if one becomes skittish, the whole flock will stampede easily.
Because of their “sheepishness,” they are even frightened by running water.
…have little discernment as to choosing the best food and drink…
Sheep are stubborn and will insist on their own way, even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water. They need constant fresh pasture and fresh water.
Not always aware that they need to drink, they can even be found grazing beside water while in the early stages of dehydration. Because of this, they must be constantly led to clean, still water.
* Are you friendly? Do you become agitated if separated from the group and interaction with others?
* Do you stay close to the flock for comfort, support, and safety?
* Is the Shepherd’s daily touch important to you?
* Can you be found lingering at the Shepherd’s feet?
* Do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd when He calls your name?
* Do you follow the Shepherd knowing He will take care of you?
* Because you are prey for the enemy, do you become fearful or do you trust in and depend on the Shepherd to protect you and fight off the predators for you?
* Do you become skittish, your circumstances frightening you as though they were rampaging waters?
* Are you stubborn, insisting on your own way? Do you lack discernment in choosing where and what you feed your soul and spirit?
* Do you feed on poisonous matter or drink from dirty waters? Do you realize you are suffering a dehydrated spirit, ignoring the fresh waters of the Lord before you?
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21 NKJV)