Cross thoughts: Christian ideas seen in Sudanese every day life.
Shepherds! I used to see them very early in the morning coming in from Shambat towards the Khartoum city markets. During eide smaller flocks of sheep were by the roadsides waiting to be bought for family sacrifices. One or two shepherds were with each flock.
I imagine that there have been shepherds almost as long as there have been people and sheep!
The Bible says:
1. Able “kept flocks”, presumably including sheep, Genesis 4:2, and he offered
the best of them to God.
2. Jabal was “the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock”, Genesis 4:20.
3. Abraham “acquired sheep”, Genesis 12:16.
4. God is a shepherd to His people, Genesis 48:15, Psalm 23:1, 1 Peter 2:25.
Ownership of sheep was an important economic factor in the pastoral time of the Patriarchs. Their meat was eaten, 1 Samuel 14:32. They were shorn for their wool, Genesis 31:19. They were milked, Deuteronomy 32:14. God planned mankind should always creatively use His creation.
Some of God’s leaders learned to lead by being shepherds.
Moses was a one, Exodus 2:17 and 3:1. David was another, 1 Samuel 16:11. God wants us to learn from what is around us.
People without a living relationship with God are described, more than once, as “sheep without a shepherd”, Numbers 27:17, 1 Kings 22:17, 2 Chronicles 18:16, Isaiah 13:14, Matthew 9:36. God wants us to learn His way from Him.
Pastors and ministers are to be “shepherds of God’s flock”, Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2. God wants us to protect, care for and guide our people.
But my favourite shepherds in the Bible are those lowly unnamed people who were tending their flocks in the fields by Bethlehem, Luke 2:8.
From God’s glory they heard firsthand news of universal joy!
“A Saviour has been born to you”, Luke 2:11. They went quickly to see the new baby.
And when they had seen Jesus, they spread the word, glorifying and praising God,
Luke 2:20. This Christmas, we who know Jesus must do the same!
Our neighbours, of whatever faith or none, deserve to know this Jesus.