It’s naptime, so little man is in bed. The first thing I read? Francine Rivers’ novella on the prophet Amos. Listen as she describes what a shepherd is like…
“They were coming.
They moved swiftly, keeping low to the ground…Amos didn’t have to see them to know the enemy was closing in. Three sheep were missing – the same stubborn dam who so frequently troubled him, and her twin lambs. He must act quickly.
Calling to his flock, he watched them race toward him. They sensed his urgency and follwed him into the fold. Assured of their safety, he was free now to go after the lost ones.
A lamb bleated…the foolish dam remained intent upon having her own way. Rather than stay in the green pastures to which he led her, she continued to choose brambles and brush.
Amos saw the wolves. Snarling, the wolf advanced in a low crouch, hackles raised…Amos hurled his club, and struck it hard in the hip. With a cry of pain, the wolf limped into the brush and disappeared.
The baby lamb lay still. Amos lifted it tenderly, examining it. Shock and fear had killed it.
He sighed heavily. How many times had this dam led others into danger? How many times had he rescued her, only to have to hunt her down again? He cared deeply for all his sheep, even this dam who habitually caused trouble. But he could not allow her to go on leading others into the jaws of predators.
The dam, now safe, moved stiff-necked, ruminating as she gazed once at Amos before heading toward the brush again. Shaking his head, Amos laid the dead lamb on the ground, unsheathed his knife, and went after her.
When the deed was done, Amos felt only sorrow. If only she had stayed close to him, he would not have found it necessary to end her life for the sake of the others.
He carried the surviving twin back to the fold…
Amos spotted the remaining twin lamb near some bushes. As he approached, he saw its wool had snagged in a thornbush. One hard tug, and the lamb could have freed itself, but it was not in his nature to do so. Instead, the animal would stand still until rescue came – or a predator, eager to make a meal of him…
The lamb had learned his mother’s bad habits…
“It’s this or death, little one.” Amos released the stone, striking the lamb in the front leg, just above the knee…
Tears burning, Amos went to the wounded lamb and knelt. “I am here, little one. I would rather wound you myself than see you come to greater harm.” He knew after a gentle examination that the leg was broken, but not shattered. It would heal. “I know I hurt you, but better you suffer an injury that will heal than become dinner for a prowling lion.” He ran his hand gently over the lamb’s head. “You will learn to stay close to me where you’re safe.” He cupped the lamb’s head and breathed into its face. “No struggling or you will cause yourself more pain.” He gently lifted the lamb onto his shoulders and carried him back to the flock.”
“‘The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.’ If I really believe that, I will know a life of perfect rest.” – Kay Arthur