Shoshone, Idaho has never had more that about 1500 residents but her history is colorful. My dad’s first job after graduating from the College of Idaho in Nampa was teaching physics and coaching basketball at Shoshone High School. His take home pay was $100 a month! The Great Depression hadn’t ended yet. There was a CC Camp North of town and the WPA was pouring concrete curbs and paving some of our major streets.
Founded in 1882 during the construction of the Oregon Short Line, Shoshone has long been considered the main railroad station in south central Idaho's Magic Valley region. The much larger community of Twin Falls 26 miles (42 km) to the south never developed a strong railroad presence due to the logistical issues presented by its location south of the Snake River Canyon. For many years, Shoshone was the only Amtrak stop in south central Idaho.
The Sun Valley resort in 1936 (and owned by the UPRR until 1964), and its pre-existing spur route to Ketchum connected here. The spur first headed northeast, following today's US 93, to Richfield and Tikura, then peeled northwest to Picabo and on to Bellevue, Hailey, and Ketchum, so the distance was greater than today's more direct 55-mile (90 km) drive north on Highway 75.
About 15 miles (25 km) north of Shoshone are the Shoshone Ice Caves. The caves are lava tubes that stay cool enough for the ice inside them to remain frozen throughout the summer. In the days before refrigeration, this feature, coupled with the railroad, made Shoshone popular with travelers as "the only place for hundreds of miles where one could get a cold beer."
What I remember most about the SHS State Championship Basketball Team was: a lot of the guys were Basque! You could tell right away from their names. They were the sons of local Basque Sheepherder! Not many of the guys had any spending money. The school bought their uniforms but I think they wore their own all-purpose, pre-Converse shoes.
Well December 7, 1941 and everything changed! The boys were all drafted and the basketball team languished from that time forward. Many of those fine young men never came home from the War.
My dad moved us to Idaho Falls, then Boise where he was the Athletic Director at the YMCA.
Then in 1944 he got drafted in the Navy because the U.S. had run out of kids for cannon fodder then.
A sheep breeder. The only sheep breeder I ever met or talked to was a man who was considered very wealthy and a serious player in a small town. He had a big lot with lots of good useable corral boards to keep the sheep in. He had workers for him and welders and all sort of RVs for his cowboys?/seasonal workers to live in. This man owned a whopping 5,000 sheep!! I could barely get any time with him. Winter or Spring. His wife was a bit bitey as most people are who protect their money and lifestyle.
Well, reading this morning I read about a man....a king.....a king of Moab named Mesha from 2 Kings chapter 2. This king was clearly extoridoneryally wealthy as he would pay the King of Israel a 100,000 sheep every year! This means he not only owned the 100,000 sheep but he at more to keep the herds growing and healthy in number. Well over 200,000 I’d think. There were no antibiotics back then so the sheep must have had clean good grass and pure water to drink from. What a place that must have been. A site to see! But that is a lot of rent! 100,000 of anything is a lot even in now day and age!
Not only did he pay 100,000 sheep every year but the wool from a 100,000 rams! That’s a lot of work! And a lot of wool! Imagine the sheep being eaten by the Israelites every year and the clothes that were made every year in the cities of Israel? And Moab was only a smaller town outside of Israel!
As soon as one leader dies as in the case of King Ahab of Israel others fight and fight for the territory, land, plunder, and power of that position. Call it greed. Call it lust. Call it the Soveriegn will of God that this would happen!! We see it take place every week on TV in the PGA TOUR! One person vying for the title and prize or a place in the money.
You almost can’t blame the King of Moab for wanting to take the place of Ahab. After all he would no longer have to pay his 100,000 sheep and 100,000 wool skins. But God is in charge. “Godliness with contentment is great gain”.
I love the scene of Israel joining forces with the king of Judah. It doesn’t seem like an alarming thing for them. Enough for them to summon everyone,and wake up the city, and enough for them to seek forces from Judah but I don’t get an “alarming” sense of this battle arrangement from the Israel/Judah side. I’ll prove this later.
Have you ever heard of a two-man best ball? It’s where each of the two players hit their golf shot and you each proceed to the ball that is the best choice and then you both play from there. It can be a lot of fun especially if you get a solid partner. Well Israel teams up with Judah in words that anyone would love to hear,
“I am like you, my people are your people, and my horses are your horses”. (Think of all the hay and grass these kings needed to feed just their horses. Let alone the food needed for all the horse stall cleaners!)
I love the next parts! Is seems very non-challaunt to me when King Jehoshaphat says,”which way shall we go up?” He implies their are many routes that he knows about but he is not pressed to take any one in particular so he defers to the king Jehoram. You can almost smell the coffee brewing as these two kings sit together to discuss the direction of battling King Mesha. “Well there are many routes to takes but what do you think?” These are war people. They know battles, and they do not seem to alarmed by what’s taking place. Maybe the people are at this time but not the kings. The people probably catch the vibe of this battle too as I’ll point out in a moment below.
My people also are your people.
They are not too concerned about their armies either or their horses. They simply show up on the first tee together coffee in hand and March off for 7 days without water. Who does this? Then, it’s only after 7 days of marching with two armies, through the wilderness route, that they finally inquire if there is a prophet in the area they can turn to! Hilarious!
In verse 12.....notice where the prophet Elisha is. He is “low”. With the people. With the armies. But MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY....with God.
Then Elisha wants some tunes (harp) to be played as he summons the Lord! (I recently like to song “In the Middle” by Isaac Caree)
What happens next in this battle is UTTERLY AMAZING....Notice the next preparations the Lord has the Kings make!
Psalm 23 is a great way to start reading into the Word of God. When you don’t know or aren’t sure where to start reading in the Bible Psalm 23 comes straight from a real life shepherd in David, about our Real Life Shepherd, Jesus!
“The Lord”….we’re not talking about someone just around us vaguely, but God Himself. Psalm 23 is always a safe place to start with prayer or when in a sheepish time of need.
“Is my Shepherd”….this is deeply personal. It’s not some cheap ownership here but we are the blood bought sheep of Jesus Christ, saints. “You are not your own, you were bought with a price”.
“I shall not want”….want and need are two different things. The Lord knows what you need before you ask of Him. I have always found that the Word, “godliness with contentment is great gain” applies here. I have also found that not being in want, but thankful instead, is deeply calming and restful. Much like a sheep that has what it needs.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures”….being a golfer or sorts, not a physicist, I have seen many many green acres, but grass that’s grown for pasture is lush and cool and inviting. Sheep, like us, tend to be the nervous type so when the Shepherd says rest we get to enjoy rest.
“He leads me beside quiet waters”…..again, these are daily needs He gives to us. Straight from the Source. These aren’t just any waters, but “quiet” waters. Shut off the TV, the sounds, the noise, and enjoy a quieter life with Jesus.
“He restores my soul”….why would a soul need restoring? This restoration involves the mind, will, and emotions. This is the home run base so to speak for what our Shepherd does for us. We have (1) not want (2) green pastures (3) quiet waters and now (4) a restored soul. Why though? Because we are in an unseen war that’s why!!! Ever had someone shame you? Lie to you? Trick you? Persecute you? Hit you? Say all sorts of evil against you? Ever notice darkness? Depression? Ringing ears? Evil chatter? What about the unseen war that manifests in the seen? Ever been sick? In a car wreck? We wrestle not with flesh and blood”. We need great restoration….often…even daily. Restoration is huge as we move forward.
“He guides me in paths of righteousness”….sheep are not walking in lockstep with each other. Neither are most Christian’s. I went to a all men’s Bible study the other night. We men only get into lockstep with each other about two things….eating food and shutting up and praying together! The rest is like a tussle for some hidden tassel! Sheep walk in many many different paths like us.
“For His names sake”….Gods name is on us. We are to be holding His ownership of us in highest esteem! What about representing our King don’t we get? (Much in many ways, but let’s learn from Him) “Ambassadors”. We are, in my opinion, a motley crew of ambassadors! When you take on the name of someone else your like the branch of the vine.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”….the only reason this life has a shadow is because their is Light on the other side! Eternal life is approaching every moment! Yes, it’s a valley. A place of loneliness down here on earth. Most women will tell decorate and tell you otherwise with trinkets and flowers but folks it’s not rosey. Death, disease, plagues, famines, hungry folk, drugged up folk, etc…death is ugly stuff. But Jesus is always with us! “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”.
“I fear no evil, for you are with me”….David had a spirit not of fear. He killed a lion, a bear, a Goliath! God was with him.
“Your rod and your staff they comfort me”….feel Jesus’ staff. Hold it! Get to know it. It comforts us. It’s not some twig he slaps about. He means business with that thing. In Revelation Jesus holds a rod of iron, but for us now he holds His rod and staff for us as we graze Home to heaven.
“You prepare a table before me”….eat of His justification. Eat of His goodness. Eat of His righteousness. We can eat of all sorts! Dig in!
“In the presence of my enemies”….we saints have enemies…seen and unseen….known and unknown. Be shrewd. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. Don’t be stupid!
“You have anointed my head with oil”….with the Holy Spirit. This is past tense here. It’s done, been done, is done. You are a Christian with an anointing from on High. From Jesus Himself.
“My cup overflows”
“Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life”….I think of two things here…(1) the trail or wake a duck leaves behind it as it swims through the water and (2) the aroma of Christ left wherever we go. Your life is not wasted, Saint.
“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”….Eternity approaches. We are in, Saints. Our Shepherd will not leave us.
The Great Shepherd
Jesus the Shepherd-king
The Worthless Shepherd
Strike the Shepherd
Jesus, the Hound of Heaven
Jesus: Greater Than Moses
The Coming Exile of Israel in Edom