INTRO: I wrote this Christian poem after working on a large wheat and sheep property northeast of Perth, Western Australia. I went out into a paddock with the farmer’s daughter to round up the sheep and transfer them to a different paddock. I drove the ute while she rode the motorbike to round them up to the gate of the paddock. One of the sheep ran away from the pack and got caught deep in a thick bush. She held the sheep’s hind legs, and I held the front legs. On the count of three, we lifted him up and out from among the low-lying branches of the bush. There was no way the sheep could have freed itself. It would probably have been attacked by wild dogs overnight.
I wrote this poem in my first year as a Christian. My dad gave me an old study Bible and I downloaded the free Matthew Henry Commentary app. After hearing a sermon on Psalm 23, I borrowed Tim Keller’s Book to study further about an Israeli shepherd. Beverley Joy
Let me tell you a story
From a sheep’s point of view
Come join me in the herd
Of the Good Shepherd.
It is springtime
The shepherd leaves his home
To lead us, his sheep
Away till wintertime.
For some strange reason, God made sheep
Helpless and silly, stubborn and needy
Vulnerable and weak, fearful and skittish
And easily mislead.
We need our shepherd to guide us
We want for nothing that is good for us
Our Good Shepherd cares and protects
He skillfully provides for all our needs.
The Good Shepherd doesn’t provide
Everything that we desire
But what we need when the time is right
We trust him to provide what is best for us.
In open lush fields
Not parched or bare
We safely eat ‘till content
Under his watchful care.
Our Good Shepherd makes us lie down
To rest before we drink
He protects us from stomach pain
We stay safe when us, he restrains.
Sheep will not drink from running water
Nor drink from stagnant dirty water
Our Good Shepherd leads us beside pools still and fresh
Till our thirst is quenched and we feel refreshed.
Sheep will not lie down at the end of the day
And sleep until peace, quiet and comfort reign
When we are restless, He calms us
By walking among us with his rod and staff.
He touches the brow of every sheep
With an oil and herb tonic
That deters flies and parasites from their eyes
Our irritation, hunger and thirst
His care will soothe and satisfy.
Once rested and nourished quiet and content
The shepherd moves his sheep on
He walks ahead to entice us
To follow him faithfully along the right path.
The Good Shepherd checks the terrain
And prepares it for grazing
Prickles that bruise our skin and hooves
And poisonous plants, he removes
We live under His watchful eye in banquet style.
The shepherd returns us to our feet
When we fall and can’t right ourselves
When caught in bushes we cry out for help
Getting scratched and tangled as we thrash about.
He secures the herd and then starts his search
For the sheep who wandered off the right path
He’s determined to find us; he pulls us free
With strength, he rescues His precious lost sheep.
We trust Him to rescue,
Love and forgive us
For, we both know
That as sheep, we can’t save ourselves.
The shepherd carries his rod and staff
To protect from lions, bears, and predators
That spy and stalk us night and day
From hidden places along the way.
As winter approaches the shepherd leads us home
Down from high places into treacherous valleys
Where shadows steal sunlight
Miserable and frightening.
Our despair is soothed
Our hope renewed
For His staff and his rod
We keep in view.
The Good Shepherd promises
To lead us through
To comfort and safety
Back to our home.
His voice assures
“Do not fear, I am here,
Nothing can separate you from my love.”
Contented we bask
In his goodness and mercy
His unceasing love, favour,
He claims ownership,
He has chosen us
Despite our dependence
And our helplessness.
The LORD is my shepherd
Beverley Joy © 2014 of Simply Story Poetry. All Rights Reserved.
You can listen to all my poems on several podcast platforms here
NIV Study Bible, Zondervan 1985
Matthew Henry Complete Commentary Free Online
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Keller W.P. 2007 Zondervan
God’s Will Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions, J.I. Packer, C. Nystrom 2011, Baker Books