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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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psalm 23 part:   || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 ||


Excerpts from:
A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23
By Phillip Keller"

Part 8




In thinking about this statement, it is well to bear in mind that the sheep are approaching the high mountain country of the summer ranges. These are known as alplands or tablelands, so much sought after by sheepmen.

In some of the finest sheep country of the world, especially in the Western United States and Southern Europe, the high plateaux of the sheep ranges were always referred to as "mesas" -- the Spanish word for "tables." Oddly enough, the African word for a table is also "mesa" ... the use of this word is not uncommon in referring to the high, flat-topped plateaux of the continent.

So it may be seen that what David referred to as a table was actually the entire high summer range. Though these "mesas" may have been remote and hard to reach, the energetic and aggressive sheep owner takes the time and trouble to ready them for the arrival of his flocks.

Early in the season, even before all the snow has been melted ... he will go ahead and make preliminary survey trips into this rough, wild country. He will look it over with great care, keeping ever in mind its best use for his flock during the coming season. Then just before the sheep arrive, he will make another expedition or two to prepare the tableland for them. He takes along a supply of salt and minerals to be distributed over the range at strategic spots for the benefit of the sheep during the summer.

I can picture him [David] walking slowly over the summer range ahead of his flock. His eagle eye is sharp for any signs of poisonous weeds which he would pluck before his sheep got to them. No doubt he had armfuls to get rid of for the safety of his flock.

Another task the attentive shepherd takes on in the summer is to keep an eye out for predators. He will look for signs and spoor of wolves, coyotes, cougars and bears. If these raid or molest the sheep he will have to hunt them down or go to great pains to trap them so that his flock can rest in peace.

Often what actually happens is that these crafty ones are up on the rimrock watching every movement the sheep make, hoping for a chance to make a swift, sneaking attack that will stampede the sheep. Then one or other of the flock is bound to fall easy prey to the attacker's fierce teeth and claws.

Only the alertness of the sheepman who tends his flock on the tableland in full view of possible enemies can prevent them from falling prey to attack. It is only his preparation for such an eventuality that can possibly save the sheep from being slaughtered and panicked by their predators.

There is another chore which the sheepman takes care of on the tableland. He clears out the water holes, springs and drinking places for his stock. He has to clean out the accumulated debris of leaves, twigs, stones and soil which may have fallen into the water source during the autumn and winter. He may need to repair small earth dams he has made to hold water. And he will open the springs that may have become overgrown with grass and brush and weeds. It is all his work, his preparation of the table for his own sheep in summer