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Encountering an extraordinary God in ordinary life

Issue # 227 August 12, 2001

Sheep and Shepherds


Even non-Christians in much of the world are familiar with the metaphor of the Lord as Shepherd because of the prevalence of Psalm 23.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.                                         PSALM 23 (NIV)

A comforting Psalm for many with great pastoral imagery. One that even many non Christians can recite by heart.

Did you ever wonder why the metaphor of a Shepherd for God?

In part it was because the culture of the Middle East would be familiar with the image. They knew how the shepherd guides the flock. They knew he (sometimes she) would do anything to keep the flock safe, even giving his/her own life if need be.

The other part is because in some ways sheep are  not really bright. They wander off and get lost. They expose themselves to danger without thinking. They are often easy prey for predators.

They sound an awful lot like me sometimes. 

Without Him shepherding us, we would find life to be a much more difficult and dangerous place.

Just for a change, here is some Bible trivia on sheep and shepherds for you. For word counts I’ve used the NIV

1) Who was the first person to call the Lord a shepherd?

2) Where is the last reference to the Lord  as a                           shepherd?

3) How many times does the word shepherd appear  in the Bible?

4) How many times does the word sheep appear in the Bible?

5) How many times does the word lamb(s) appear in the Bible?

6) How many times does the word goat(s) appear in the Bible?

7) Why am I asking about goats when I’m talking about shepherds?

8) In what chapter and verse does David kill the   Philistine giant Goliath?

9) How many stones did David carry when he went  out to face Goliath

10)What animals had the Lord already delivered David from before he faced Goliath?


1) Israel (Jacob) Genesis 48:15

2) Revelation 7:17

3) 59

4) 193

5) 189

6) 165

7) Shepherds cared for both sheep and goats.

8) 1 Samuel 17:49-50

9) five (1 Samuel 17:37)

10) a lion and a bear 1 Samuel 17:40 

Regardless of how you scored, 

Until next time may you be comforted anduplifted by the presence of the true Shepherd in your life.

God bless.


©  2001 K.F. "Kevin" Corbin

All Rights Reserved