Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd…
We continue our sheep talk, and today’s focus is sheep’s hygiene. Sheep are dirty!
Why are sheep so dirty?
Lanolin is an oil secreted in the skin and coats their wool. It helps the wool withstand the effects of cold weather. However, lanolin causes the wool to become a prison for all things nasty! When sheep lie down, grass, dirt, dust and so much more get in the wool and the accumulation will not release. To add to the dilemma, sheep cannot clean themselves. Unlike many animals in our world, they remain dirty until someone cleans them. For example, they are scared of water and cannot lick their wool. (Can you imagine if they could? Yuck! The texture alone would be enough to make one cringe!) Bugs (use your imagination) can grow and reproduce in the wool of the sheep. Sheep are DIRTY! They would not be welcomed in your home!
Once again, sheep provide a great picture of us before God. We are dirty and stained by sin. Scripture is clear on our place before God – filthy sinner.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23.
Though your sins are like scarlet – Isaiah 1:18.
Can sheep be too dirty?
Some of us look at our sin and easily see the stain of sin on our life. We see our sin for what it is – the great filth that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). At times, this understanding of sin becomes a stumbling block. One may think they are too dirty and stained for God to save. But, that is not what Scriptures says about our crimson stain. If we finish Isaiah 1:18, it says, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” God has promised to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves – make us clean through Jesus Christ. We, like sheep, cannot clean ourselves. Our righteousness is nothing but dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot be righteous enough in our own efforts to come back to God. Jesus earns that for us through His Righteousness. Thanks be to God for His gift of making filthy sinners clean!
Can sheep have just a little dirt?
Others look at their sin and think it is not so bad. One may think they are only a little dirty. They have forgotten the essential truth, we are not sinful because of what we do, but we are sinful because of who we are. Each one of us is born sinful (Psalm 51:5). Sin is in us and comes out in our actions because our heart is shackled to sin. Remember the words of Jesus, Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of man, comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander pride foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” No person is a little dirty. We are like sheep. We are filthy, nasty and filled with shame unable to come before God in our own merits. All of us should echo the sentiment of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
The Good Shepherd Cleanses His sheep of all DIRTY SIN!
We need a shepherd to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves – a shepherd to clean his dirty sheep. Jesus is the One who cleanses us of our sin. Our scarlet sin being made white is only achieved by Christ’s righteous life. Christ has exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He has taken the punishment we deserve. He has taken our place. This Easter celebration, I pray we will all remember what Christ did for us that we cannot do for ourselves. He makes us righteous. Christ allows us to come back to the Father not as a filthy, scarlet stained sinner but a resplendent bride wearing pure white!