I was contemplating the appearance of the angels to shepherds to announce Christ, on his birth, today.
I realised shepherds are throughout the bible. Able was a shepherd, Cain who tilled the ground murdered him after God preferred his sacrifice to Cain's. Abraham and his descendants were shepherds. Joseph's brothers tell the king of Egypt that they and all their ancestors were shepherds. Joseph notes that the Egyptians despise shepherds and they will thus be given land in a certain place, as shepherds, which they are. King David, pleasing to God, is a shepherd, and Jesus Christ calls himself the good shepherd. God's curse to Cain is that his crop yields will disappear when he plants, as he killed his brother. God's curse in the garden of Eden also is one referring to agriculture, not animal husbandry. (Noah was a man of the soil and planted a vineyard, so God is not portrayed as hating agriculture.)
In the Garden of Eden, God also curses Adam for listening to Eve over God, and curses Eve with a desire to be obedient to her husband, whose work in agriculture is cursed by God to be toil. A man who plants a field must be attentive to God, given plagues of locusts and droughts. He is at the mercy of God. A woman who is subject to the pains of childbirth, and to the needs of pregnancy and motherhood, in the ancient world would become reliant on her husband for protection and much else.
Reading of the tower of Babel also is more useful when aware of God's blessings and curses. In the beginning he blesses mankind on making them and tells them to fill the Earth and subdue it. Those who built Babel did so to make a name for themselves and to prevent themselves being scattered. They do so to disobey God's will, so God sees not only that they are evil, but have allied to become powerful, and so he makes them speak in different languages to scatter to them to fill the Earth.
Noah and his descendants are given all animals by God to eat, but instructed not to eat food with blood on it. Moses, in his law, as part of the Old Covenant, restricted what the Israelites could eat, further. In the New Testament God appears to Peter and as the Old Covenant is fulfilled, has the church return, just about to the dietary regime of Noah, saying to Peter kill and eat, for God had made all animals clean.
Able, through fulfilling the pattern of a shepherd, something God himself acts as with us, his sheep, pleased God in his sacrifices.
The Bible is full of patterns of the promises of God. As Saint Paul says in the New Testament, all scripture is useful. Also something to note, is that what you choose as your career, while not inherently evil, may be something that costs you God's favour. As with any tower or city you build to subvert God's will. Don't till when you should be shepherding. Don't build Babel when you should be conquering the Earth and all that is in it.
- Marc Evan Aupiais
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