Exodus 3:1, Tending the flock. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness of Midian tending the flocks of Jethro, his father-in-law. After this phase of his life, YHVH called and commissioned Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and then to shepherd them through the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. This was the very same wilderness where Moses had shepherded Jethro’s sheep for forty years. Moses’ job as a physical shepherd prepared him for the next phase of his life—his ministry as a spiritual shepherd.
Often YHVH chooses individuals as his servants based on their vocational background, which provides training for the spiritual ministry to which he then calls them. For example, David was a shepherd before he became the king over Israel. Yeshua was a carpenter before he became a builder of the spiritual house of Israel (Heb 3:3–6; 1 Pet 2:5), and several of Yeshua’s disciples were commercial fishermen before becoming “fishers of men” or apostolic evangelists. Sometimes our physical vocations may be an indicator of what our spiritual calling is.
Being a shepherd of physical sheep is a most suitable profession to prepare one for tending YHVH’s spiritual sheep. A shepherd has to put the needs, comfort, care and protection of the sheep above that of his own. This is one reason why the Scriptures refer to those who care for and protect YHVH’s spiritual sheep as shepherds or pastors. There are many similarities between physical and spiritual shepherds, and physical and spiritual sheep. Unless one has been a physical shepherd and cared for physical sheep, it is unlikely these reasons will be readily apparent.
Isn’t it marvelous how the Lamb of YHVH was/is also our Shepherd!