Study No. 153
The Blessing of Wool
I sleep on it and sit on it. I wear it on my feet, my hands, my body, and my head. It protects me against the winterís cold. It helps to cool me against the summerís heat. Wool is indeed a blessing from God. There are many spiritual lessons one can learn from sheep. We are the sheep of Godís pasture who hear the voice of the Messiah, the Great Shepherd. Yet there are spiritual truths to learn from wool as well.
Never have I more appreciated one of the Creatorís greatest gifts to mankind than when I moved to Wyoming. In this state, there are many more sheep than people. Sheep and cattle, oil and coal, and tourism and hunting are Wyomingís livelihood. Sheepís wool is not merely a business here, it is a necessary means of survival. Against the bitter cold of winter and the blazing heat of summer, wool comforts and protects us.
The many uses of wool are amazing. Thirty years of work in a nursing home taught my mother that the best thing a bed-ridden person needs is a wool fleece to sleep on. Wool prevents bed sores and stimulates the skin, promoting good health. On our queen sized bed, we have a wool fleece stretch cover over the mattress, with a regular sheet on top of it. The wool fleece keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have rag wool socks and gloves, and a rag wool cap. This type of wool has natural oils, and does an excellent job in protecting against the bitter winter wind. I have soft and cozy shearling wool sheepskin boots. Its high lanolin content softens the skin, and "hollow fibers" actually wick away moisture from my skin, making shearling warm in winter, cool in summer. I have sheepskin seat covers in our car. I wear one of my wool suits or wool sweaters on the most formal occasions. One day, when I can afford it, I want to buy a heavy, long fleece-lined sheepskin coat, which is most effective when the temperature falls far below freezing. There are many important uses of wool, which is truly a gift from the Almighty.
The Bible has much to say about wool. It was as much a part of peopleís lives in Bible times as it is today.
The first fleece of a sheep is to be given to the Eternal, Deuteronomy 18:4. Job gave the fleece of his sheep to cloth the poor, Job 31:20. Leprosy can infect not only a personís skin, but also the wool clothes they wear. When diagnosed with leprosy, even the leperís wool garments contaminated by contact with infected skin are to be burnt with fire, Leviticus 13:47-52, 59. Wool is not to be mixed with linen, but kept pure, Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 22:11. Gideon "put out a fleece," to make sure that God was directing him to deliver Israel, Judges 6:36-40. Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, who paid tribute to Ahab of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams, with the wool, II Kings 3:4. In the Bible, snow is often compared to wool, Psalm 147:16, Revelation 1:14. Since wool is good and a blessing from God, snow is also good and likewise a blessing. Snow and wool seem to go together.
The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 "seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands," verse 13. Wool is a symbol of righteousness, of sins forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool," Isaiah 1:18. Wool is susceptible to a worm from a moth, which eats it up, so likewise, those who reproach the keepers of Godís laws shall be eaten up, Isaiah 51:7-8.
In Ezekiel 34, one of the famous "false prophets" chapters of the Bible, the Eternal indicts the shepherds of Israel who do not feed the flocks. Instead, they fleece the flock, eat the fat and clothe themselves with wool, not feeding the flock, verses 2-3. The Sons of Zadok who shall serve in the rebuilt Temple are not to wear wool, but only linen garments, because tightly tailored wool causes one to sweat, Ezekiel 44:15-18. The Heavenly Fatherís hair is likened to white snowy wool, Daniel 7:9. So is the hair of the glorified Son of Man, Revelation 1:14. Bread and water, wool and flax, and oil and drink are some of the important substances needed to sustain life, Hosea 2:5. Wool was used in the sanctification of the people under the Old Covenant, Hebrews 9:19-20.
The English language does not have a synonym for wool. There is no substitute for wool, either. In a world of synthetic material and manufactured ideas, wool is a symbol for purity and superior quality. Contrary to what some people think, properly worked wool is soft and gentle to the skin, not scratchy and irritating. Lambís wool is the most gentle of all, a perfect symbol of our kind and gentle Savior, the Lamb of God. Polyester and other synthetic materials can never teach us lessons about the Creator. Let us appreciate the wonderful gift of wool. The next time the temperature drops to minus 40o Fahrenheit, Iíll be thankful for the warm protection that wool gives me, truly a comfort and blessing from above.