For I know the vast number of your sins
and the depth of your rebellions.
You oppress good people by taking bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
It is an evil time. A time when we run from a lion, into the hands of a bear, when we escape from the near and are bitten by a snake. Even those who are good at heart fail to follow the Lord’s will because they do not value His advice enough to earnestly seek it.
People would rather worship at the altar of public opinion, or rely on their deceitful hearts that rely upon emotion and humanistic benevolence towards their fellow man instead of relying upon the Word of God.
People decide in their own minds what is good, taking offense when another shares truth, instead of being humbled. People think themselves wise, but have no interest in Godly wisdom. They think that they are loving and forgiving and merciful, but ignore repentance and have no fear of God, so they are just leading sheep faster into the hands of the slaughter.
A wise man would be silent in such a time to keep himself from suffering for standing firm for truth. A foolish man would compromise the Truth of the Word of God to avoid persecution.
A wolf will lead sheep even faster to the slaughter, as he draws them into his den, smiling and telling them what they want to hear, accepting their kind thank you, even as he can almost taste their blood on his hands.
A hard hearted, hired hand who cares nothing for the sheep will throw stones at the sheep, driving them further ahead of himself and into the mouths of the wolves so that he might escape himself, even as he abandons the flock to be devoured.
But the good shepherd walks the narrow path. Neither compromising and letting the sheep fall into the hand of death by not giving adequate warning and instruction and discipline, nor driving them from His presence by provoking them to amber and rebellion.
And yes, the sheep will hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, while the goats will run from it. But the goats are for the wolves, so that they will be fed and so the sheep will be safe. So few are the sheep. So many are the goats.
How much time is spent by wolves herding goats? By those who would call themselves leaders, gathering up a flock of followers to lead them to slaughter?
How many hired hands see the profit in a career of leadership, building up a flock of followers to abandon them to the wolves because they love themselves, but have no deep love for the sheep?
How few put their hand to the plow and do not turn back?
It should fear each of us who share the Word of God in today’s world –
Not fear of what the world might do to us? For what is death, but freedom from this body to be in the presence of the Lord.
Not fear of suffering and persecution? For what a blessing it is that the Lord might deem us worthy of sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
But fear that we might compromise the Word of God, fear that we might be the ones teaching instead of Christ teaching through us as a willing vessel, fear that we might not love the sheep enough to discipline and warm them about the dangers, fear that we might abandon them and turn back.
But take heart. Be still and know that He is the Lord. Rely upon Him for your strength.
Take up your cross and be prepared to be lifted up, even as Christ was lifted up. If you are not fully surrendered, if you are not ready to glorify and honor your Lord by laying down your life so that others might know Christ – turn back. You have no place “playing war” standing as a child pretending to be a man of God. You will be killed not as a soldier and martyr, but as a goat feed to the wolves.
I don’t say this to push you away from service to the Lord, but I do say this so that you might examine yourself and know – am I a sheep, am I a goat, or am I a wolf. And if you were foolish enough to declare to yourself, “But I am the Shepherd” – check your clothes, wolf. There is one shepherd who is called Faithful and True, there is one teacher, so do not call yourself teacher, there is one Father, so do not let them call you father.
Know yourself that you might save yourself by crying out to the Lord. Seek Him, knock persistently, your time is not as long as you might think – seek Him while you still can. He will answer. He will call you. He will send you.
Do you want to go?
Are you ready to bear your cross?
We deprive people of justice because we hold back the truth. We take bribes by allowing the money and concerns of paying for buildings and programs and filing our own pockets and mouths compromise the message of the Word of God. We rebel against God when we share our own message and not His. I know the depths of your sins, messenger. Because they have been my own.
But there is no time for compromise, there is no good end for lukewarm false converts “interested in religion” who are not seeking God, who have no fear of God, and who have no interest in repentance, but who want to gather together. Let the dead bury their dead. Let the wolves eat the goats. Call of the Word of God to the sheep. Let them hear the teacher’s voice.
One way, one Truth, One Life – Jesus Christ.
Let’s focus on being lifted up by God, not by others.