Why Shepherds? Part 3

I started this week's post on Monday by saying that I don't think the shepherds' involvement in the Christmas story was a coincidence. Those guys weren't just in the right place at the right time. God chose to announce the birth of Jesus to specific shepherds for a specific reason. 

Yesterday I pointed to Ezekiel 34, in which God rebukes the leaders of Israel for being lousy shepherds. The angels should have sung for King Herod. God expected the king to be good shepherds (2 Samuel 5:2; Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 3:15, etc...). They should have sung for the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were also supposed to be good shepherds. 

But Herod and the Jewish leaders were shepherds who had fallen asleep on the job. 

When the angels appear in Luke 2:8, they appear to shepherds who were doing what shepherds are supposed to do: keeping watch over their flocks. And at night, no less. 

Night time is when predators like wolves and hyenas stalk lambs who stray from the flock. Night time is when thieves look for flocks to pilfer. Night time is when sheep - who can only see around 10 yards during the day - are prone to wandering away in the darkness. 

Night time is when sheep are the most vulnerable. It's also when shepherds are most vulnerable to taking their eyes off the ball. They're tired and sleep deprived. They're afraid. They're bored. Night time is a hard time to be a shepherd. 

But despite the obstacles, the shepherds in Luke 2 are exactly where they should have been doing exactly what they should have been doing: keeping watch over their flocks. 

When the Good Shepherd arrived, the angels announced the news to the shepherds who were doing what shepherds were supposed to do. The "shepherds" who were asleep at the switch missed the announcement. 

So what? In case it's not obvious, I'll finish out tomorrow talking about the implications for leaders today.