Saturday, June 25, 2011
FROM WANDERERS TO WARRIORS
FROM WANDERERS TO WARRIORS
“The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.
My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders;
For the Lord Almighty will care for His flock, the house of
, and make them like a proud horse in battle. Judah
will come the cornerstone, Judah
from Him the tent peg,
from Him the battle bow,
from Him every ruler.
Together they will be like mighty men trampling the muddy streets in battle.
Because the Lord is with them, they will fight and overthrow the horsemen.”
The Lord’s people wander like sheep over the hills, unsure of anything, trying to appear as if they are well-fed and healthy. Their idols, those whom they hold up as their examples, speak about worldly things, lead the sheep down paths that go nowhere, and put them out in pastures that have no grass or water. The dreamers and prophets spin out dreams and visions for the people of God that have no substance, and there is no comfort or cure for what ails the flock. The sheep are grouping for protection, and find none. Even while the enemy circles, riding powerful and swift horses, the weak and young and sick and lame of the flock are being grabbed and taken away to slaughter, while the shepherds continue to try and calm the flock with pretty words and promises, with worship and praise, with books and meetings and buildings and appearances. The flock is milling about in confusion, and many are beginning to wander out over the hills to be lost forever.
But the Lord Almighty, God Himself, has set the Cornerstone—Christ Jesus--in place. While the shepherds please themselves, taking the choice wool, eating off the fattest sheep, lying on beds of soft comfort, they ignore the commands of the Chief Shepherd, the Cornerstone of the House of Judah, and so there is no battle, there is no defense, and the flock is decimated.
The Father and the Son are preparing tent pegs and battle bows and rulers—new shepherds to lead the flock—equipping battle-hardened men who will speak to the sheep in the voice of their Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, and the true sheep of God’s flock will recognize their voices, as they recognize Jesus’ voice. These men of God will come together, and bring the flock together, and will not act alone. These new shepherds will bring the flock together, and prepare them for war. This new flock, headed by the One Shepherd, will ignore the old flock’s idols, dreamers and false prophets, and listen only to the voice of Jesus, the Word of God, and His Spirit. They will forsake man-made religion and follow Christ alone, and be His Body, learning to obey every Word of His mouth.
This Body for Christ will together become mighty men. They will fight in the streets, on foot, without the world’s fancy armor or technological weapons. The enemy on horseback, the wolves that circle and grab, will be overthrown by these warriors without worldly means. There will be no mercy for the self-absorbed shepherds. They will either kneel to the One Shepherd, or will be tossed from their luxury accommodations and wander over the hills without protection, as they left the weak and sick of God’s flock to fend for themselves. They will experience the discipline of God, and through it some will come back to rejoin the flock in humility and pure love for God and His people. Some will never come back, as they will find comfortable position in the enemy ranks.
Jesus, the loving Shepherd of His flock, the Cornerstone of the House of Judah, will go after His lost and straying sheep through these mighty men of valor who will feed His sheep the truth, and God will strengthen them all together. They will find their Way, and become an obedient flock, helping one another, giving to one another, living in love like their Shepherd commands.
There will be redemption from sin, and complete restoration for the sheep of the flock. Jacob, whose name means “struggles with men”, will become
, which means “struggles with God”. These struggles will lead them back to Gilead, the land where God fulfilled His promises to Abraham through Jacob, who became Israel . These people who come back will have persevered through deep trial and trouble. Israel
“I will restore them because I have compassion on them. They will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them…Surely I will redeem them…I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to
Gilead…” --Zech. 10:6-10
This flock will be brought together, and will seek the Lord together after going through many hardships. The sins that overpowered them will be thrown away, and the new life of Christ, including His cross and His daily dying to self, will be put on.
“They will pass through the sea of trouble; the surging sea will be subdued and all the depths of the Nile will dry up, Assyria’s pride will be brought down and
’s scepter will pass away.” --Zech. 10:11 Egypt
The flock who comes together to obey will leave the things of Assyria and
behind. They will be set apart for the Lord God alone, not relying on pagan and worldly means or methods of proclaiming the Egypt . They will rely only on the strength of the Lord, and will become mighty men as their Older Brother, the Firstborn among many brethren, the Lord Jesus, was the Mighty Man. Kingdom of God
These mighty men will teach in love, live in the love of Christ, and be willing to give up everything to be His. They will be foot soldiers, not relying on man-made traditions or institutions for provision. The flock will share provision, and the flock will feed one another, and provide shelter and care for one another. They will obey their Shepherd, knowing that His sheep give water to the thirsty and food to the hungry, clothe the naked, share their homes with the alien and stranger, find jobs for the jobless, care for the sick, and comfort for those in prison.
This One Flock will confess their sins to one another and pray for one another. The shepherds will rely on their One Shepherd to feed them, and clothe them, and to provide them their living. There will be no petty laws, such as tithing and Sabbath days, because the flock will live by the Spirit, and give abundantly to one another out of God’s daily provision, and serve the Flock every day, which is true worship, with no motivation but the approval of their beloved Shepherd.
“I will strengthen them in the Lord and in His Name they will walk…”
This Flock will by strengthened, not by celebration and feasting, not by comfort and affluence, not by endless books and music, not by fine buildings, soft pews and smooth sermons, but by faith working through love in the muddy streets of their towns, cities and villages.
This Flock will be strengthened through many trials, and the Spirit of God will be evident in the Vineyard of the Lord by the clusters of fruit hanging from the vines. The strength of the sheep will be in the Lord, and they will walk like Jesus did, in obedience to their Shepherd.
They will be slaughtered, but not by the wolves and the mounted horsemen. They will be killed as Jesus predicted, by those who think they are doing God a service. They will be persecuted by the religious, and hounded by the zealous for man-made tradition. They will be ridiculed by those who claim Christ, but who prophesy lies in His Name.
Not one hair on their heads will be harmed, though they lose their earthly lives, because they will live eternally with their Beloved Shepherd. Woe to the ones who cause these little ones to stumble, for their angels see the face of God on their behalf every day in Heaven. May God have mercy on those who oppose the One Flock, which though taking no vengeance for itself, has its Protector, whose power will save them. He will avenge, and it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands.
Heed the Word of God through Zechariah, who long ago predicted that these things would take place as we see them now.
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