NOTE to readers: Some readers did not get the blog yesterday (including me!) so I’m re-sending it. Apologies if you already received it.
Amos pulled four burrs off the last sheep. “In you go Bramble.” And Bramble trotted into the sheep pen.
“Would you like to take first watch tonight, Amos?” asked Ariah, Amos’ father.
“I think it’s time. Are you ready for the job?
Ariah and older son, Ezra, adjusted their sheepskin “beds” near the sheep gate and covered up with blankets. Amos ambled over to a nearby rock to rest and watch for any possible intruders in the night. He propped up his staff beside him with clutched hands and leaned his face on his hands. His heart was warmed by this first time opportunity to prove himself an able shepherd.
Amos listened to the fading “baas” of the sheep and insect noises you only notice when all else is quiet on a Bethlehem hillside.
He thought about the time, six years ago, when he went to the lambing barn to watch his first-ever birth of a lamb. Months of births later, he helped many a ewe struggling to give birth to their lambs and then the day came when he was allowed to join Papa and Ezra for one of their three-day journeys out on the grazing hills.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3
David’s words came with clarity and meaning as Amos thought about his family’s job as shepherds, taking care of every need for their sheep. David held a special place in his heart—his favorite shepherd in the Holy Scriptures. He remembered his father’s words—”David walked these very hills when he was a shepherd boy hundreds of years ago.” Somehow it seemed to make this ground sacred.
Suddenly, Amos heard a howling sound in the distance. “Wolves,” he whispered to himself. He jumped to his feet, yanking the slingshot out of his bag. Sure enough, a pack of wolves made their way across the top of the hill. Amos thought his heart would beat out of his chest. He quickly grabbed three stones and headed toward the sound of their pounding paws,
The pack came within sight. Amos pounded his staff on the ground and shouted sharp hacking sounds at them. They slowed and paused. In a flash, he placed a stone in his sling and aimed at three of the wolves who were clumped together, figuring he would strike one of them. Badly stung, one whimpered and limped around. The others paused temporarily. Again, Amos calmly aimed at another still target. Victory! It was enough to persuade the pack to turn and run.
By this time, Papa was on his feet, running to check on Amos. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, and the wolf pack is gone.”
Amos explained what he had done and received an approving pat on the back. “Good work son.” Papa asked if Amos wanted to sleep now.
“No, I can’t sleep right now. I’ll finish my watch.”
As Amos settled on his rock again, the psalm came back to his mind.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
“Thank you, oh Lord, my shepherd.”
~ Joyce ~