Ministry of the Shepherd
It is not unusual for a sheep to go astray. The fellowship and joy with God can be broken but not the salvation itself.
There are three types of sheep.
· The stubborn sheep - These are sheep that just want their own way.
· The straying sheep - These are sheep that are weak and carelessly go astray.
· The sick sheep - There are many enemies and diseases and these sheep also need to be restored.
The shepherd has three tools he uses to minister to the sheep
· A rod - The stubborn sheep are restored with the rod. He would break one of the legs of the stubborn sheep and then immediately bind it to heal it. He would often carry the sheep until it was mended. That sheep would then stay very close to the shepherd. The sheep has been broken and restored. The same God who breaks us is the same God who restores us. God did the same thing to Jacob. God's chastening is an indication that you are a child of God. God is out to make you holy not happy. It restores our fellowship. It seems harsh at the time but yields fruitfulness later.Direction
· A staff - The straying sheep are restored with the staff. It has been called a shepherd's crook. The shepherd used it to guide and retrieve the sheep. When we get into difficulty the Lord has the staff to get us back on the right path.
· A bottle of oil - The sick sheep are restored with the bottle of oil. Daily as each sheep came in to the fold he would anoint, count, and check them for any injuries. This oil was mixed with other elements to protect the sheep from pests like nose flies.Physical healing
Can you remember the times that God has used the rod, the staff, or the oil?