Where is Your Sheepfold
Dr Richard Forde
"He chose David also His servant, and took him from
the sheepfolds; from following the ewes great with young
He brought him to feed Jacob His people and Israel His
inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity
of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his
hands" Psalms 78:70-72.
The sheepfold is that place of preparation to which the Lord
assigns us in order to prepare us for His greater intention.
Of necessity, it is a place of difficulty. It is often a place
where one is left alone with God; where there may be a wrestling
with the enemy (the lion and bear). Also, it is a place of
This position in the sheepfold was the task of the youngest
son; it was a place of learning responsibility for the charges
left in his care. In the loneliness of those dark nights with
the weight of responsibility for the sheep upon him, the young
shepherd learned to call upon God and to lean on Him for his
protection, as well as for the protection of his flock.
In the sheepfold, God was watching. He noticed David's concern
for the "ewes great with young." He observed how
David protected the flock; how he fed, watered, and cared
for the sheep; how he defended them to the extent of placing
his own life at risk.
"And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's
sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb
out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him,
and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against
me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear" I Samuel
Having been tested and proven in the sheepfold, God "chose
David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds ...
and brought him to feed Jacob His people and Israel His inheritance."
The Scripture says: "Who hath despised the day of small
things" Zechariah 4:10. Jesus said, "He that is
faithful in that which is least is faithful in much"
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:20-21), the quality
which the Lord emphasized was faithfulness. "Thou hast
been FAITHFUL over a few things, I will make thee ruler over
many things" Matthew 25:21b. The implication is that
if I am faithful in a small task, I will also be faithful
in a greater one. On the other hand, if I cannot be entrusted
with a small task, I certainly could not be trusted with the
Integrity is proven character. It is not a gift; rather,
it is a quality that is developed in the "school of hard
knocks." It results from the sanding, rubbing, fashioning,
and molding of life's difficulties. James says: "But
let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect
and entire, wanting nothing." Integrity is the fruit
of one's experience.
David "fed his sheep according to the integrity of his
heart and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands."
Again, skillfulness is a quality that results from experience.
Even though we may have the aptitude for a certain task, we
cannot be skilled at that endeavor until we repeatedly, actively,
experience it. A man may have a real aptitude for carpentry;
and he may even learn from books and teachers how a job should
be done, but it is only after many "hands on" experiences
that skill is developed. Skillfulness is proven ability. In
the sheepfold, David gained experience as he guided, cared
for, and fed his father's sheep.
Where is your sheepfold? Are you rebelling because of the
smell of the sheepfold, the loneliness, the roar of the lion,
or the fearsomeness of the bear? There was One who was watching
David and caring for him. Even though at times David may have
felt very much alone, The Lord was with him. When the lion
and the bear attacked his sheep, David aid: "the Lord
... delivered me" I Samuel 17:37a. David was prepared
and proven in the sheepfold, and so are we. In I Samuel 13:14b,
the Word states: "the Lord hath sought Him a man after
His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain
over His people." Having been tried and found faithful,
the Lord commanded Samuel: "Arise, anoint him, for this
Let us, therefore, determine in our hearts to be faithful
in that place where God has set us. Let us not flee from the
circumstances which God has ordained to train, test, and approve
us. God is still seeking "a man after His own heart"
who will feed His people "after the integrity of his
heart, and guide them by the skillfulness of his hands."