Follow the Flock, or the Shepherd?

“Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep… wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill… scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

“Therefore,.. thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths.” Ezekiel 34:2-6,10

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,.. and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15

A flock of grey cloud sheep ambles through a pale gray sky, heading nowhere, but together. They soon scatter, like so many aimless herds, pushed along by shifting wind currents, led and turned and then abandoned by fickle group think. Soon the flock has dissipated, leaving the question unanswered whether they had any purpose in their wandering after all.

Herd mentality with no true shepherd may make an immediate impression, but like vapor, is transient and elusive. To follow lost sheep or false shepherds leads us nowhere significant or meaningful, and often somewhere we wish we’d never strayed. Aimless in brambles of confusion, through bare patches of meaningless ground, where good foundations are nonexistent or have been destroyed, the righteous find themselves lost and hungry. The only way back to green pastures is to abandon the flock and heed the true Shepherd’s voice. (Psalm 11:3; 23:1-2; Ephesians 4:14; James 1:6)

We live in a culture of varied flocks that wander and baaa at every changing whim, and self-promoting shepherds driven by greed. We may think it an easy choice: follow lost sheep or the Good Shepherd, but find ourselves swayed by pressures from voices, emotions, and habits we didn’t realize had a stranglehold on our resolve. We grow dizzy with the promises, doubting their sincerity but wishing them true just the same. And so- not necessarily intentionally- we drift along like clouds, disillusioned, without firm convictions, and with vapor-like courage to match.

Are we training ourselves by continuous practice to know the truth inside out and discern between voices? The enemy is a master of deceit, mimicking an angel of light, so understanding God’s word is vital to combat his spiritual onslaught. What are we doing to instill this mental, spiritual, and practical discipline of following the good Shepherd, with attending trust and confidence? (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 6:10-12)

Lord, may I forsake lost and unrighteousness rambling of thought and step, and follow You alone.

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