Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones…
Sheep usually have docked tails – tails that have been cut off by their owners — like some dogs such as Corgies. Docking sheep is so common, you may even have thought that sheep naturally have little tails.
The sheep of the Middle East have long tails; some varieties have broad tails that might remind you of a beaver’s tail. It might surprise you to know that fat tails are prized in the Middle East.
The Awassi breed is the primary Middle Eastern sheep, and it is known as the fat-tailed sheep. There are at least 5,000 years of recorded history of these sheep, even including ancient depictions of them in mosaics. They are, in fact, the sheep of the Bible. Leviticus 3:9 says, “Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as an offering made by fire to the LORD, its fat and the whole fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone.”
The Awassi is bred specifically because of the large amount of fat, as much as 20% of its body weight, in its rear end and tail. Don’t misunderstand — the chubby rump of the Awassi is not prized for its plump appearance. The fat tail has a critical function, providing energy reserve for the sheep, especially through the winter. Much like the hump on a camel, the healthy tail is a source of water. In other words, the sheep need that prodigious tail for both energy and water in a dry and thirsty land.
Are you a well-cared for sheep of the Lord? Then the Lord will “make fat thy bones”! When we trust ourselves to the care of our Shepherd, and obey Him, He will ensure that our souls are fattened and can provide the reserves that we need in times of hardship and distress. Praise God! His advance work on our behalf prepares us for the challenges of today.