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Why a shepherd carries the lamb

May 6, 2008

Have you ever thought about why we sometimes see a picture of a shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders? Did you know it is likely because he broke the lambs leg?


Shepherd Carrying a Lamb


A wayward sheep is a sheep that wanders from the flock into danger. Often this is a repeated behavior, not a onetime occurrence. One of the roles of the Shepherd is to set boundaries for his sheep. He knows what is healthy and good for them, and his boundaries are there for the protection and care of the sheep. If  sheep is wandering away from the flock and away from the care of the Shepherd it is headed to a place that could be dangerous and hurtful. The rod and the staff are used to keep them close and safe but sometimes that is not enough. At times sheep choose to wander away from the safety and security to a place that is outside the boundaries that will protect them.


When a sheep continues to wander away from the flock and Shepherd and put himself at risk a loving Shepherd will take measures to keep the sheep safe. He may break the sheep’s leg so it can not wander away. This forces the sheep to be dependent on the Shepherd for care. It must remain in very close proximity with the Shepherd where it will not only receive care, but the sheep will learn the Shepherd’s voice, see his love, and develop a relationship that was not being built when the sheep was wandering. The hope is the sheep will learn that the Shepherd’s care brings safety, security, love, goodness, peace.


Psalm 23:1-3a “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.”


Can you think of a time where God may have been treating you like a wayward sheep that he loved? Have you experienced a time where it felt like you may have been disciplined in such a way to keep you at the Shepherd’s side so you could be trained, loved on, and restored?


Again I am amazed how God’s ways seem so contrary to my ways!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2008 3:03 am

    I never really saw it that way Sherie… Hmm. i always pictured the Shepherd carrying the lamb because the lamb was too tired to follow the herd and the sheperd cant leave it behind… so He carries the lamb. But yea, this puts a whole new perspective on me…

  2. May 7, 2008 6:27 am

    I had the same idea. I always thought it was just a sign of the Shepherd’s care, but when I heard someone refer to breaking the sheep’s leg the other day I was shocked. Now that I understand more of why he would do that it paints a different picture, one I will be thinking about for a long time.

  3. May 28, 2008 8:59 pm

    halberd says : I absolutely agree with this !

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