As I quickly scrolled over my facebook news feed this morning, I felt the Holy Spirit stop me on this one posted by PBS.org on 8/25/2015: “Renegade Sheep that Avoided Shearing for Six Years by Hiding in a Cave.” What? It’s true. Apparently in New Zealand, a shepherd found a sheep that had evaded his shears for six long years by hiding in a cave to finally emerge with enough wool on him to make twenty men’s suits! That’s a lot of wool.
W. Phillip Keller’s “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” explains that “wool in Scripture speaks of the self-life, self-will, self-assertion, self-pride” (W. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), p. 117). In the Old Testament law, priests were not allowed to wear wool in their priestly duties (Ez. 44:17), because it symbolized man’s effort rather than God’s grace. The number six in prophetic, biblical language symbolizes man’s ways in contrast to God’s. There are also many prophetic voices that see each 1,000 period of civilization as a day in the Lord’s eyes with the seventh being the Millennial reign of Jesus. Hiding means, well, hiding. (It can look so many ways, can’t it?)
There is conjecture that the hiding sheep perhaps came out because he was distressed and miserable in his condition. I’m seeing a prophetic lesson here. As we stay close to Him, we can be sure that Jesus, the Good Shepherd will faithfully shear some things off of us that are not consistent with His nature. He loves to heroically separate us from everything that hinders our love for Him, which let’s face it, is ourselves, self-life, self-will, self-assertion, self-pride. This process can by confusing and unpleasant to our maturing souls, but we can trust Him. He wants us to dwell, “beside the Shepherd’s tent” (Song of Solomon 1:8) with the Lord and with our fellow believers, not hiding out allowing our self-lives, our pride, our addictions, our avoidance, our offenses, our denials to grow to bazaar proportions. I don’t want to stagger out of a cave of isolation to meet Him and find that He does not even recognize me as His sheep–that a compromise here, a compromise there has completely eroded my true identity as His daughter. It is so much better to settle my soul down in the confidence of His love and let Him deal with me and change me. He has created us to live gloriously free in the circle of His arm. That is where we thrive! In hearing His voice every day, following Him. Constant transformation is the overcoming life!