In the Shepherd's Arms

Theme: The Lord is our shepherd. 2nd Sunday of Advent
Object: A stuffed sheep or a shepherd's crook
Scripture: He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

How much do you know about sheep? Let's see if you know the answers to these questions.

1. Sheep have a fluffy coat of fleece that covers their body. What is it called? (wool)
2. Sheep live in a group with other sheep. What do you call a group of sheep? (flock)
3. What do you call a baby or very young sheep? (lamb)
4. What do sheep eat? (mostly grass)
5. What do you call a person who takes care of a flock of sheep? (shepherd)

You really do know quite a bit about sheep, don't you? Here are some other things that you may, or may not, know about sheep. Sheep are pretty much helpless and can't find their own food and water. They often wander away from the flock and become lost. Sheep have no means of protecting themselves and they will run when they are threatened by a coyote, wolf, or some other animal that tries to harm them. As you can see, the sheep neeed someone to take care of them and that is where the shepherd comes in. The shepherd is very important in the care and protection of his sheep.

There are many times that the Bible refers to God's children as sheep and the Lord as their shepherd. That is a very good picture, isn't it? What does the shepherd do for his sheep? He provides them a pasture where they find food. He takes care of those who need him most, especially the little lambs. When they are hurt or afraid, he picks them up and carries them in his arms. He gathers the sheep when they wander off and protects them from their enemies.

The prophet Isaiah tells us how God loves and protects his children. Listen to what he says, "He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young." (Is. 40:11 NLT)

The shepherd always wants what is best for his sheep. He leads them into green pastures where they have plenty to eat. He leads them to water so that they have plenty to drink. He leads them to the shelter where they will be safe from danger.

Just as the prophet Isaiah said, the Lord is our shepherd. He provides us with all that we need. When we stray, he brings us back. When we are in danger, he protects us from harm. When we fall down, he picks us up.

Heavenly Father, you are the shepherd and we are your sheep. We thank you for your love and care for us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

NOTE: The Shepherd and Lamb image is Copyright © Darrel Tank. Visit his site at www.darrelltank.com

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