The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

We Are Sheep

Posted by israeliteindeed on January 15, 2016

I’ve noticed that the word “sheep” is being used as a derogatory term today. An alternate term is “sheeple.” It is applied to people who just go along with whatever they’re told without questioning, whether it be in the context of government, religion, the media, etc. While it is true that too many follow others blindly, it is still true that people–ALL people–are sheep. And to be a sheep is not a bad thing in itself. What’s bad is when sheep follow the wrong voice.

Every one is supposed to live in fellowship with the Great Shepherd of the sheep–the living Word of God who created us(Heb. 13:20). The congregation of the Lord was never intended to be like sheep without a shepherd (Num. 27:17). The beauty of a people dwelling in relationship with the Great Shepherd is expressed in the well-known Psalm 23.

Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (Psa. 100:3)

But man has rebelled–

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isa. 53:6)

And to make matters worse, those claiming to be shepherds of God’s people are often their very destroyers–

My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. (Jer. 50:6).

When men rebel against the Shepherd, they fall prey to lies and liars that destroy them–

For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd. (Zech. 10:2)

Notice they are in trouble not because they are sheep, but because there is no true Shepherd with them (due to their rebellion). Because they did not love Truth (Jesus), they are deceived by satan and on their way to condemnation–

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:9-12)

Such people have become sheep following their own ways, which is ultimately satan’s way. They are lost and need to be saved! God has compassion for people in this predicament–

But when He [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. (Matt. 9:36)

He will punish those who hurt His sheep, and He will gather them Himself–

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord. (Jer. 23:1-4)

Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.(Eze. 34:10-12)

God has come to us in the Good Shepherd, Jesus–

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:11-14)

Not only that, but Jesus is also the “door” through which the sheep enter the safety and provision of His sheepfold–

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:7-9)

In order to be gathered to Jesus, the Shepherd, we must acknowledge that we are sheep who need His guidance and protection, as well as His redeeming blood sacrifice to atone for our past rebellion. The only way to be saved is to repent of going your own way and become Jesus’ obedient sheep, with Him until the end–

The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (I Pet. 2:25)

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)

There is no shame in being a sheep! There is only shame in being a lost sheep who refuses to repent and enter the Sheepfold through Jesus. Such a person will continue to stumble about blindly, not knowing where he is going. He will be easy pickings for wolves.

Further, as Christians, our identity in the world is like sheep among wolves–

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matt. 10:16)

For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Rom. 8:36-37)

Sheep do not have talons, sharp teeth, great strength, or any manner of self-defense. Their only defense is their Shepherd. Jesus acknowledged this, and that He sends us out as sheep among powerful enemies who can kill the body but not the soul (Matt. 10:28-29). He reminds us that even the fragile sparrows are known and loved. Their lives and deaths do not go unnoticed, and we are worth much more than they.  Even if we are killed, we are still more than conquerors.

In Jesus’ kingdom, His servants (sheep) don’t fight, because His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). His kingdom is advanced with the testimony of truth and the gospel, the demonstration of our love for one another and our enemies, and patience under tribulation. The devil’s kingdom is quite different, always advanced with violence, oppression, theft and lies. We are not to fear, even though we are sheep who appear to have no defenses. The Kingdom of God is given to us by the Father, not won by carnal power over others.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Lk. 12:32)

Ben Franklin said, “If you make yourself sheep, the wolves will eat you.” The statement was seemingly made to justify rebellion when authorities are wrong. Certainly we are to question what we are being taught, seeking out the truth in Scripture, and we are to expose evil. However, I see Christians using this quote to advocate violent self-defense and even rebellion against government over things like taxes and gun laws. If you don’t fight them in the flesh, you deserve to get hurt–so the invalid argument goes.

A careful attention and obedience to Jesus’ teaching will keep us from going down that evil path–the path of the insurrectionist Barabbas, whom many still prefer over Jesus. Many are listening to the “voice of the stranger” (Ben Franklin, for instance) rather than the voice of the Shepherd. This, they hope, will keep them from being devoured as defenseless sheep. They are, in fact, still sheep being led astray by that stranger’s voice. They have left the protection of the Sheepfold and are wandering from mountain to hill with no resting place (Jer. 50:6), stirring up others to join them in their lack of peace.  They speak as the world and the world hears them. (I John 4:5).

Our Shepherd has already overcome this world. The peace He gives is not like the world gives.

It remains even as civilizations are shaken, and authorities oppose each other and establishments crumble.

It is there the day you realize the authorities of earth are working for Lucifer, and the Holy Spirit whispers in your ear “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

It is there in the prison cell, and there when friends and family desert you.

It is there when the money dries up, and the body breaks down, and the dream fades away.

It is there when the world hates you, and the eternal God whispers to you, “I am your exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1).

It is there when your child is slain before you by militants, and there when you feel the cold steel on your neck.

It upholds us for the entire length of the journey, even through the valley of the shadow of death.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow God’s children even on dark days, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Trust in Jesus, friends. We are the sheep of His pasture.

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