Who's Watching Over You? An ancient bloodline protects

©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  What looked like a white marble lion sculpture atop our neighbor’s semi-circle firepit was actually their new half and half – Anatolian Shepherd and Pyrenees dog.

On the highest surface in the yard, the impressive 100+-pound family friend sat perched, its head moving, watching, looking.

Initially bred to protect sheep and goats from predators and thieves, the ancient breed known as the Anatolian Shepherd hails from the Middle East. Known to be responsive, loving, and protective, these dogs are also devoted and dependable.

I think about the One born in the Middle East that we know as the Shepherd.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

In the early morning, the regal protector next door moves along the top of the brick firepit keeping a watchful eye in every direction. For centuries, Pyrenees sheepdogs have kept watch and safeguarded their flocks. Some protectors were even fitted with a collar of nails to provide extra protection when wolves attacked.

A crown of thorns sat atop our Protector’s head. Nails penetrated the hands of our Shepherd. On the cross where He was crucified, Jesus suffered for our sake. To protect us. To save us.

Prior to the crucifixion, Jesus cried out, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”  John 17:15

Later, in a letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul reminded the flock that God is faithful and protective, but we also need to pray, to remain firm in the faith, and to guard against those trying to distract and disrupt us from God’s plan and purposes.

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:2-5

Guarding and guiding a flock isn’t a new concept.  And it’s known to work.

When governments provided farmers with Pyrenean Mountain Dogs to guard their flocks, those who used the protective animals reported 90% fewer losses than those who didn’t. Majestic in appearance, Pyrenees are not only considered protective but also incredibly perceptive.

My neighbor’s dog is grand – yet approachable.  Powerful enough to protect its flock (or family), it’s welcoming enough to let friends come close.  It commands attention as it leaps to a high viewpoint (even my friend’s table!) yet will snuggle next to friends with a loving welcome.

DNA confirmed the bloodline of their dog but even if my friends didn’t know that for sure, the dog’s distinctive characteristics and actions reflect its combined heritage and purpose.

No sheep are in our neighborhood but he has a family to protect. It’s incredible to think that even where we live, away from the mountains, that this dog continues to keep watch for threats. That’s in his nature, his bloodline.

And, no matter where we are in life, our Lord loves us, desires to be close to us, to guard and guide us so that we may experience peace as we trust in His protection and rest in His promises.

I’m so glad He added dogs to our world – including ones who surprisingly show us a new way to look at the ever-present Shepherd and Protector!

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 19:20-21

  • Which pet have you had or known that made you feel loved or protected?
  • What does Shepherd and Protector mean to you as it relates to God?
  • When you read Psalm 23, what do you think about God’s provision and protection? The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:1-3
  • What surprises you when you think about the character of God? What comforts you?

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:1-3


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


*Scripture references are from New International Version (NIV)




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