Nature – The Lamb

The Lamb: Rejected & Restored

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:6

“ ‘I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,’ says the Lord God. ‘I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.’ ”

Ezekiel 34:15, 16

We are familiar with the Biblical parables of the lost found in Luke 15—the sheep, coin, and prodigal son. We are also familiar with instances of those who have been rejected (driven away), broken or sick: the poor, fatherless, weak, and outcast. The beauty in the Lord’s pursuit is in sight, even to this day. Here, for example, we may learn from sheep.

A shepherd or farmer, although not often spoken of, may be skilled in maternal reconnection (restored bond). A shepherd or farmer who notices a ewe mother’s rejection of her lamb, will assess her willingness to allow the lamb to come close and nurse. Freely, on occasion, she will allow the lamb to suck when distracted, eating hay or grain, grazing, or sleeping. However, an occasional suckle is inadequate for nutritional benefit. And so, immediate reorientation must take place. The ewe is placed securely in a bonding pen or head gate to allow its lamb to nurse. Ideally, within three days, they are both placed in natural surroundings separate from the flock; in the interim, their interactions are closely monitored. Most often, successful bonding occurs and the ewe and its lamb are placed once again with their flock.

A restored lamb will thrive in health, learn mannerisms, nurse appropriately, gain weight, play with other lambs, prance on all four limbs, run, climb, express curiosity in its environment, nap throughout the day, sleeping 8–16 hours daily. The lamb will also establish a bond with the shepherd, farmer, or adoptive caregiver and will retain him or her in its knowledge, and distinctively knowing his or her voice, is the first to come running when called.

However, a rejected lamb will fail to thrive and may have a sickness or defect. The lamb may be unable to retain warmth or exhibit a strong suck. A weak suck is inadequate for nutritional sustenance; making both natural nursing and bottle-feeding difficult. The lamb will require stomach-tube feedings which has a low survival rate. Failure to thrive during its first few weeks may ultimately lead to starvation and suffering, even death.

What a blessing, The Lord is not willing that any shall perish! Just as the Good Shepherd searches for and rejoices over the lost, He searches for and restores the rejected, broken, and sick:

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth,’ who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21–25