The above picture shows a shepherd with sheep
pressing in around him. We see different flocks of sheep some
smaller and some bigger. Some are close to the shepherd and others
are more far away. Some are so far away that it is hard to recognize
them as a flock of the shepherd.
In the picture we also see one single sheep totally alone. It has left its flock and has now turned its face towards the master. Step by step it is getting closer to the shepherd.
Some years ago the LORD gave that picture to illustrate the state of the church today.
Many believers like to huddle together. There was a reason Jesus used the example of “sheep” as a picture of our human nature. Like sheep we are “gregarious animals”. We look towards each other. We also look towards our human leaders and we follow them. This is the essence of humanism: We like to flock together with our own kind.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and follow me, they won’t follow a stranger”. – John 10:3-5 Here He was just describing normal sheep behaviour. Sheep are always looking for a leader. They also look for fellowship among other sheep. They hate to be isolated.
If sheep have no shepherd they will choose the strongest ram, (just another sheep), to lead them. Getting the proper food and direction from the shepherd is very important. But many sheep do not seem to care about these things. Their main desire is to just be in the flock among other sheep.
We know that natural man has no ability to receive things from God. So, motivated by his herd instinct he is looking for someone to please his human desires. In his natural human state he has no desire or ability to see the shepherd, (God). Therefore he is looking for powerful “rams” to be around and a nice flock to feel comfortable in again.
This is the basic reason we have different states today, and different social levels in our societies. The best examples are the Hindus. Their castes are a very obvious example of that normal human herd instinct. Here we see all the negative effects of groupings among fallen mankind.
When Jesus redeemed us from sin, HIS desire was to become our shepherd again. He knows all too well how we function in our natural state as human beings. He knows that mankind needs a leader. And He wants to be the center of a believer’s life. When we discover the Shepherd we cannot accept the authoritarian leadership of a “ram” anymore.
We know from the Old Testament that God wants our adoration. He is a jealous God - it made HIM furious to see Israel neglecting HIM by following other gods and mere men. Jeremiah lamented, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their own authority; And my people love to have it so.” – Jeremiah. 5:31
But we have our habits - our own herd instincts.
We say, “I need a nice flock to be in. Oh yes, they have a congenial, strong leader and their programs are fascinating. There is always a good spirit there and I'm feeling great - I’ll join them!”
The reason we have so many churches and religious groups is the same reason we have them in normal societies. These are our normal human herd instincts! Though they claim to be spiritual their habits prove that they are not following the Master!
They follow “rams” - but not the Shepherd!
If they would follow HIM in truth – the result would be one single flock united in Christ.
In the picture above we see different flocks. Some are so far off in the distance that it is impossible for them to hear the shepherd's voice. They are still on the Shepherd’s pasture. But they have totally lost contact with Him. They still bear the Shepherd’s name and call themselves Christians. But their lives show no difference from men bound in sin.
Some are closer in reach of the Shepherd’s voice, but they prefer the “desires of the flesh” more than “the fruit of the Spirit”. To form a flock with a leader to their liking is more important than following the Shepherd.
“Have you heard brother XY! He is a powerful man of God! He knows the will of the LORD! Look, the deeds he’s doing. No man can do that – he knows God! And God is with him.”
Those believers feel very uncomfortable if they’re confronted with the true “voice of the Master”. Nor are they interested in discovering “HIS will” for their personal life. They say,
“If you’re in the “right” flock, supported by the best scholars, then this is just right!”
But what happens when this is no longer satisfying to you? What if their system is no longer “meeting your needs”?
Look to the single sheep!
You must dare to go against your natural instincts! You must leave the security and comfort of the flock and dare to be alone - without obvious protection.
The only thing you have is the Shepherd in sight.
It is dangerous. You hear the howling of the wolves outside - and some are wolves in sheep’s clothing! But you will never reach the Shepherd if you do not overcome your “old nature”. You must step out towards HIM.
Isaiah 52, 11-12
Depart, depart, go out hence, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her,
purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go
before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
When you leave the flock following your desire to be
close to your master, the LORD will protect you. You have to face the
loneliness, the cold of the dark night. Yes, you will hear the wolves, but
your God will watch over you. Invisible to our natural eyes He will be right
there! His abiding Presence will go before you and be your rearguard.
This period of loneliness will come to an end. Look at shepherd! All around Him are His sheep, crowding and pushing towards Him. Look at their heads! They all face the master!
So what is the final result of daring to leave the flock?
By getting closer to HIM you will also get closer to those other sheep pressing in towards the Master!
And here we have the principle of spiritual brotherhood! This is the “communion of saints”.
Human relationship for its own sake isn’t important anymore (2.Cor. 5, 16).
HE is our only focus, and this will bring us closer to our brothers and sisters in the faith.
We will become one in the Spirit. Our fellowship will be sweet and not merely based on man-centered unity.
True fellowship in Christ, (who is our true Shepherd), will never force us to accept “foul compromises” for the sake of ‘church unity’. But false Christian fellowship will try to draw us into covenant with unholy manmade organizations.
God is calling us to Himself in holiness. Our journey into the Shepherd of Israel brings us into a ‘royal priesthood, and a holy nation”. – 1.Peter 2:9 This brotherhood is the original design for God’s church here on earth.
When you sense the call of your master by reading these lines, come and dare to leave the building of “man made faith”.
Dare to be single for a while. Your master won’t leave you!
The shout is going out:
Come out of her. my people, lest you take part in her sins
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has
remembered her iniquities. Rev. 18, 4-5
The Holy Spirit is exhorting us clearly to leave the
"buildings of human creativity". The time of judgement is at hand. Only
those things which are grounded on the rock (Jesus) will remain.
A wind is going out from the face of God and will not be stopped. You will see churches and christian organisations collapsing suddenly for various reasons. Many will presume it's the devil, but this is God's action. HE is taking action against Babylon (the fake church).
When God didn't spare ancient Israel and allowed the Hebrew temple to be destroyed by enemies - why then should HE spare HIS temple of today, the church?
Leave the dead organisations of man! Go out, heading for your master!
Do not allow men to usurp your Shepherd’s place.
Allow your love for HIM to consume your fear. (1.John 4:18) Come out! It’s time to leave! You are called to be the holy and consecrated vessels of the LORD! You are the ‘called out’ congregation, the ‘ekklesia’, the company of God. We are the Body of Christ with HIM being the Head.
Here in this company of true followers who have committed themselves to the Shepherd you will find people with their hearts burning with the same fire. They have lost their lives in Christ. They now have just one all-consuming passion remaining - their desire to come closer and closer to HIM.
If we learn to know Him in the loneliness of the desert we shall experience a fellowship we have scarcely dreamed of. It is a fellowship in Truth and in the secret places of our heart. In this great Exodus we shall find ourselves being drawn closer to HIM.