DECEMBER 14: SHEPHERD MATTERS

SHEPHERD MATTERS

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Abel. Abraham. Lot. Isaac. Jacob. Rachel. Laban. Jacob's twelve sons. Moses. David. Mesha (King of Moab / Jordon). Doeg. Amos.
What these individuals have in common is their vocation:
They were shepherds.
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Shepherds were the "bottom-of-the-totem-pole," blue-collar workers in society.
They were generally a hardy group of individuals born of extraordinary survival skills and thrust outside of the "inner city circle."
They were crude defenders when necessary and shrewd watchmen over flocks both day and night.
They could spin a good stone from a sling,
they were fortified with a courage to endure the harshest of element and enemy.
They were companions of fatigue and wilderness;
and familiar with solitude, servitude, and lonely nights.
Often times, shepherds were overlooked, underpaid, and undermined.
Recall Joseph's words to his brethren as they ventured into Egypt to flee a famine:
"That ye shall say, 'Thy servants trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, also our fathers, that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians."
Genesis 46:34
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God exposes a portion of His heart in His token to men by whom He chooses to reveal Himself. He doesn't "light" on the city's elite and inner circle and herald the Messiah's birth to men of influence and prominence. He seeks a lower "caste" of men.
God has his own "contrary way" of working out truth and grace, and He surprises with wonder, the most overlooked and undervalued in society.
This has alway been God's way ... and it shall always be.
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Isaiah 57:15
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I'm not really sure that this verse is viewed as a "prophecy fulfilment" but it most certainly is in my mind.
Reflect on the blessed birth of our Messiah and hear for yourself:
"And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.'
And it came to pass as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, 'Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had seen and heard, as it was told unto them."
Luke 2:7-20
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God chose a beautiful way to spread the news of the Messiah.
The shepherds turned out to be extraordinary witnesses of His glory ... and proved to be outstanding character witnesses in the greatest story ever told.
Who can understand the ways of our God?
Merciful. Majestic. Mighty. Meek.
Gentle. Lowly. Messiah.
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STUDY FOR GROWTH:
1) Read Luke 1-2 and reflect on the Messiah's story. Which characters in it best represent the Messiah's mission?
2) Of the characters discussed thus far in our study, which character do "you" most identify with and why?
3) What do you love about God's selection of the "shepherds?"
What message is God giving to you in it?
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