An Article about Sheep by BL Wiedenbeck
Isobel looks at me and stomps. Hard. I gaze back at her and she stomps again. She does not want me to come any nearer. She feels threatened if I look her right in the eye, although she knows me well. While it’s funny to watch Isobel with her intense stare and her little hoof pounding the ground firmly, stomping is one of the few things that she can do to defend herself, because Isobel is a North Country Cheviot ewe—an adult female sheep.
Sheep have to stay on their guard all the time. They cannot kick like a horse or a donkey can, because their legs are too short. While a young sheep might have the energy to jump a fence, its body is built in a way that prevents it from being able to kick well. A sheep does better to stomp than to try to kick.
With little ability to defend themselves, sheep look to the rest of their flock for comfort and protection. If I separated Isobel from her flock, she would be very nervous, baaing and running to look for the others.
In spite of the large group that sheep live in, there is little they can do to protect themselves if an enemy comes after them. If a coyote approached Isobel, she would have three choices: stomping, butting, or running. Unfortunately, none of these would help her in the end, because a coyote is fast and has a full set of teeth. Sheep only have teeth on the bottom of their mouths, and a hard, toothless plate on the top. With no teeth on the top, sheep have no ability to gnash and tear and bite at their enemies.
There are ways to keep Isobel and her flock safe. One way is to have excellent fencing. Sheep can be very hard on fencing, because they like to rub on it. This pushes the posts out and stretches the wires, sometimes until they break. A good shepherd keeps the fence in good repair so that the sheep won’t escape or get cut by torn fence wire. If Isobel and her flock escaped through broken fencing, they would have no protection from enemies. The flock also might run into the road and be hit by passing vehicles.
In the Bible, Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). He knows His sheep, they know Him, and He gives His life for them (John 10:14-15). Jesus knew that, like sheep, we are helpless against the enemy of our souls. We need a Good Shepherd to protect and save us. Like Isobel, we can stomp, butt, or run, but it won’t do any good unless we look for help from the Shepherd who knows and loves us. He is the only one who can protect, defend, and save us.
So when Isobels stomps at me, I don’t mind. It helps me remember how grateful I am to have Jesus as My Shepherd.
© 2007 BL Wiedenbeck