Summary: First in a series on shepherding.
Sermon for 4/29/2001
Series on shepherding
When Joseph brought his father Jacob’s whole family down to Egypt during the famine, Pharaoh wanted to show kindness to them because of what Joseph had done for Egypt. When Pharaoh asked Israel and his family what they did for a living, Jacob answered that they were shepherds from their boyhood. Therefore, Pharaoh allowed them to settle in the region of Goshen, a certain distance from the palace, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.
God takes a job that is dirty, disgusting, and despised and makes it a model.
In the Old Testament, God would often refer to how well or how poorly the prophets; priests and kings shepherded his people Israel.
Jesus mentions a lot about shepherding and sheep.
How many of us are shepherds or have been shepherds?
How many of us have known full time shepherds?
How many of us have been around sheep on a regular basis?
What sound does a sheep make?
What kinds of products do sheep give to us? Wool, sheepskins, meat.
Thesis: To start this series on shepherding, we are going to have to learn about shepherding in Bible times.
** Much of this information comes from Manners and Customs of Bible Lands by Fred Wight.
A. Let’s start with the shepherd and his tools.
1. Youngest boy often the shepherd.
a. As the older son grows up he transfers his energies from sheep raising to helping the father with sowing, plowing, and harvesting the crops, and passes on the shepherd’s task to the next younger boy.
b. The youngest of the family becomes the family shepherd because he has no one to pass it to.
c. This is what happened to David.
d. David, being the youngest of 8 sons, became the family shepherd.
e. When Samuel came to anoint a new king, David was no where to be found because he was the least and a shepherd. Kept away from people. Lonely existence.
2. The shepherd’s scrip.
a. A bag made of dried skin.
b. When he leaves home to go and tend the sheep, his mother would put food into this bag.
c. This is the bag that David used to store the five smooth stones when he went into battle with the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
d. Like a pouch that people hang around waist today.
3. The shepherd’s rod.
a. Like a policeman’s club.
b. It is often made of oak wood and has a knob on the end of it.
c. Useful for protection.
d. No doubt the rod that David used in protecting his sheep from wild animals, the lion and the bear.
4. The shepherd’s staff.
a. Stick five or six feet long and has a crook at the end of it.
b. Looks like a cane or walking stick
c. Useful in handling sheep
d. Use the end to draw them in. Like the stick they use to yank people off of the stage.
a. Simple, composed of two string of rope or leather, and a receptacle of leather to receive the stone.
b. Swung a time or two around the head and then was discharged by letting go of one of the strings.
c. Use this against wild animals and robbers.
d. Also handy in directing the sheep. A stone could be dropped close to a sheep that was lagging behind and startle it into coming along with the rest of the flock.
e. Stone could be dropped just beyond the sheep to scare him back to the flock if he was wandering away.
f. David used a sling to slay the might giant Goliath.
g. Being a shepherd, David knew how to handle a sling. David had great faith in God and courage, but he also had skill. Many other people in Israel’s army were skilled with the sling, but none had the faith and courage of David.
h. A sling would be the equivalent of a low power rifle. A stone from a sling was known to penetrate trees to over an inch. With accuracy, it was deadly.
a. Music soothes the savage beast, and the hearts of the sheep.
b. It was also good to keep the shepherd entertained and encouraged.
c. David became a great musician out with the sheep. Alone with God.
d. The word Psalm can be translated as a song played on a pipe or flute.
B. Let’s look at the shepherd and his care for the flock.
1. Food planned.
a. In the springtime an abundance of green pastures.
b. After the grain is reaped, and the poor have an opportunity to glean what is left for them, then the shepherd brings in his flock, and allows them to graze on what is left in the fields.