Sheep of Wiswell Moor

I walked up Wiswell Moor recently. A rather crude, makeshift sign had been tied to one of the gates and a handwritten warning was written upon it. What it lacked in eloquence it made up for with earnestness:




Sounds rather drastic? Well the farmer has my support. Too many dog owners carelessly allow their hounds to worry and chase livestock. They neither have them on a lead nor train them sufficiency well to have them controlled. The dogs follow their instincts to chase, and the sheep run away accordingly. The stress of this is enough to harm them. To a farmer, they are not pets or pretty features of a country walk- they are his living. The farmer is well within his legal rights to sue dog owners for compensation, and shoot dogs which are clearly out of control. It is a pity that the dog owners themselves cannot be offered a pellet or two on the backside; the dogs and sheep alike suffer for their thoughtlessness.

In scripture, sheep are so often picturing God’s people, whether this be the house of Israel or His church. Paul warns the Philippians 3:2 to beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. To the Ephesians in Acts 20:29, he warned: For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. If dogs and wolves were not threatening enough, the Lord’s sheep must be on their guard against the false shepherds described in Ezekiel 34. So many dangers, so many threats, and all this on top of the sheep’s own predilection to wander off and find gaps in the fence.

Well if the Wiswell farmer is prepared to keep safe his sheep with the use of firearms, how much more the great Shepherd of our souls, who watches us night and day? They who would attack Christ’s sheep will face His fiery wrath and terrifying judgement. It is not the sheep I pity, for they shall be kept safe enough. It is the dogs, hirelings and wolves who would menace them, whose future fate is enough to make me tremble.