So yesterday a friend and I were talking and he told me about in Ps. 23 it says that God MAKES me lie down in green pastures. He said that the only way to make a sheep lie down was if the shepherd would take his hook, grab a back leg, and BREAK the sheep’s leg! Then with a broken leg the sheep would lie down and not run off so much.
hmmm, I think, that’s crazy.
So then I do some research. Turns out it’s a true practice of shepherds all over the world!
If a sheep wanders off too much, to protect it from getting lost or eaten or whatever, the shepherd will actually snap one of its legs! Then, since the thing can’t walk without great pain, he has to carry it around everywhere he goes. He puts it down in the green pasture, he sits it by some water, he picks it up when there is danger and puts it in a safe place. Then after a time of being held by the shepherd for so much, and being weakened and limping from the permanent injury, the sheep stays close to the shepherd the rest of it’s life.
This plays out in a hundred ways: The closeness Jacob felt to God that was consummated in him being cripled and needing a staff to lean on for the rest of his life. The fact that once our leg is broken, we are no longer fit for the sacrifice, but that doesn’t matter, because the One who is worthy of being our sacrifice was already sacrificed for us. The whole fact that God does a lot of things that look bad in the eyes of the world but are really life-saving in the spiritual realm.
I guess the balance here is to not go the wrong way and think of God as a school principle or whatever, watching us, hoping to get us when we sin or wander off. He wants us close to Him.
Psalm 30.5 For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.