Motherhood: Sheep Keeping Sheep

animals-clouds-farm-97317“Little guys can do big things too,” sings Jr. Asparagus after plunking the oversized pickle on the head. We listen to our fair share of Silly Songs and Obscure Broadway Showtunes with Larry in this house, but that’s where the genius ends for me. The biblical exegesis is lacking. For one, the story of David and Goliath has nothing to do with little guys. The Bible does call David a youth but also a “man of valor” (1 Sam 16:18). And the only one doing big things was not a guy. David gave the LORD the credit for all of his victories. 

Reading David and Goliath to my kids from the actual text recently, I noticed something I hadn’t realized before. When David was convincing Saul that he would kill the giant, he includes in his resume killing lions and bears to protect his father’s sheep. I’ve always read that and thought it a little strange. When your resume is short, you stretch for anything that counts as experience, I suppose? Killing large beasts of prey is impressive, but Saul had the whole war on the line by letting this inexperienced youth fight the Philistine’s champion warrior.

We aren’t told all that went into Saul’s decision, but we know that the king’s heart is a stream in the hand of the Lord, and so David is allowed to take on the responsibility of defending God’s people. And this is where I finally made the connection to the bear killing. Just as David had saved his father Jesse’s lambs, so David would save his Heavenly Father’s people- the sheep of Israel. God was showing his people what His king is like.

In the previous chapters, we see Saul, the king the people demanded, forgetting himself grossly and becoming wise in his own eyes. God took His kingdom from Saul’s line and chose David’s instead. Israel’s king is to act like the delegated king he is. God is the one true King. Anyone who would rule His people well, must understand himself to be a steward. And this goes not only for kings, but for anyone exercising deputized authority, including mothers (the application got personal).        

As a mother, I may not just discipline or not discipline according to my own standards or by my own strength. I am a keeper of my Father’s sheep. I am to love them, spend myself for them, and give God all the glory. They are His people, I am His delegate. All my creativity, cooking, and organizational methods will not help them, but for the Lord establishing the work of my hands. This is very good news. 

David knew his God was big (actually outside of spatial constraints, but we’ll let that slide for now) and did big things too, and this made him bold. He took his sling and ran to meet the giant, fully confident that the battle belonged to the Lord. This same boldness is ours in our homes on our daily battle fronts. Is sin crouching at the door of your house? Run at it with the Word of the Lord of hosts in your hand remembering the superior promise that in his “presence there is fullness of joy; at [his] right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps 16:11). Is anxious busyness threatening your family worship? Sling the stone of “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mt 6:33) Is the exhaustion of futility chipping away at your family’s joy? Chop off the head of grumbling and despair by “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:19)

Because we have that great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb 13:20), Jesus, who spoke only on his Father’s authority (Jn 12:29) as our very own Shepherd, we not only can, but must run at giants threatening the sheep under our care with boldness and confidence, excited to see what He will do with the faith He’s given us.  

 

 

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