Early in the history of God’s people, leaders often were also shepherds or herdsmen. But, by the time Jesus was born, culture had changed. God’s people had been exiled and partially resettled in the Promised Land. Roman rule had established itself firmly in control. Rulers came from circles of influence, power, and wealth. And, somewhere down the food chain, shepherds wandered the hills with their flocks.
God’s choice to announce Jesus birth and proclaim Him as the Christ to shepherds in the hills, at night, teaches a principle: God uses people whom most would overlook. These men wielded no power or influence. In fact, they lived solitary lives away from society. With their sling, rod, staff, flute, and dogs, they relentlessly nursed, protected, and provided for their flocks of sheep. They lived in tents, not palaces.
When God lit up the Judean hillsides with His glory, He revealed that His attention is infinite, not forgetting anyone; His creativity is unlimited, not hindered by human social structures; and His ability is endless, able to order events in any way He chooses. Through the shepherds, we learn about ourselves, too. Each person is useful to God, noticed by God, and included in His plans. Ordinary is no hurdle when God chooses to use someone. His will is our opportunity.
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