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Our Our Way: Get along, little dogie - Isaiah 41: 13

 

Last updated 11/18/2022 at 12:21pm

"I am the Lord your God hold your right hand. It is I who say, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"

Out our way you seldom hear old-fashioned cowboy expressions that, except in Hollywood movies and old western songs, have largely gone out of fashion. For example, the word "dogie" ­- pronounced DOE-GHEE for you tender feet. The term refers to a motherless or neglected calf. Back in the days of the trail drives and such, calves often got separated and had to be found. Nowadays, with fenced-in pastures and the big rigs taking the herd to market, such things are not so common ... but it still happens. Charlie and I have come across a few lost and scared "dogies" far from the main herd when we were riding fence. We learned to check the gullies and arroyos and the big thorny tree stands where a lost calf might wander, and occasionally found one.   

Though rare, we still have cougars wandering the Bear Paws and occasionally even coming into town. The coyotes are not as common out here as in other parts of the hills, but they are around. And there are places where a calf can get stuck in deep mud and never get out.

I know. I stepped in a "quicksand" bog while checking fence under some thorn trees and I lost a boot that remained stuck tight while I managed to get out.   

At any rate, while certainly not the "Wild West" of legend and Hollywood fantasy, it can still be a dangerous and frightening place to a lost dogie. That's why Big Mike sent Charlie and me out there. You see, even the scrawniest, dumbest, most foolish calf that wore the ear tag for Big Mike's spread was important to Big Mike. That dogie mattered! And that is why Charlie and I were constantly riding on the outskirts of the pasture, checking fence and looking for dogies. 

As I have often pointed out, the shepherd (and the cowhand) are images often used in the Scriptures to describe the relationship God has with humanity. Psalm 23, " The Lord is my shepherd ... " comes to mind, as does the "Parable of the lost sheep" (Matthew 18:10-14 etc.) for example. There are several things to bear in mind about that imagery that can be easily overlooked by those who have never really looked into the role of the shepherd/cowhand. Let me explain.  

First, the shepherd and the cowhands are with the herd. They are not off in the distance, occasionally glancing about and viewing from afar. In whatever weather or terrain the herd is dealing with, the shepherd and cowhand is right there with them. They know first hand what is going on for the sheep and the cattle because they are there!

Second, because they are with the herd and flock, they become possessive and count each head as precious. That is why they will not only ride with the herd in every condition, but spend extra time and effort to look out for strays. That lost dogie that wears the Boss' ear tag matters and they will seek and search every square foot of ground until they find it.

Third, recall the story of David and Goliath. Like most shepherds of that era, David was a dead shot with the sling. He had killed predators (1 Samuel 17:34-36) like the lion and bear with that weapon. Goliath really never stood a chance. I carried a .45 revolver in some areas because of the lions who were starting to come around. I am grateful I never had to use it, but even the powerful cougar was not going to harm that dogie under my protection.

Now go back and read the words of Isaiah, "little dogie." Have you strayed? Are you lost and have no clue what to do or where to turn ? The Boss says you are one of His and He is not ever going to give up on you. Unlike the song, when He says "Git along little dogie," it is not your misfortune, but rather great good news that is coming your way. And as much as I love Wyoming - almost as much as Montana - read Psalm 23 again and realize He is taking you to something even greater.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Brother John

 

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