Renegade Sheep?

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 emeyk2sj-shrek-sheeprge 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!

Greatness or Gray-ness

In the prophetic book of Biblical poetry, Song of Solomon, there are many references to hair.

How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead. (Song of Solomon 4:1, ESV)

This ancient, agriculturally-based, poetic love language wouldn’t do much to stir my heart now, but it is rich with prophetic meaning. Many times in the Bible hair symbolizes one’s dedication and loyalty.  For example, Samson took a vow of dedication to the Lord as others had before (Num. 6:1-5), and because of it he did not cut his hair. (Judges 13:5); When Solomon praises his bride’s tresses, He represents Jesus, the Bridegroom King praising the dedication and loyalty of His Bride, which is especially applicable to those in the end-time generation before the Lord returns to the earth.  These are the days light shines in the darkness, when darkness does not, cannot overcome it. This light is Jesus, the love of God poured out.  “Rivers cannot overwhelm this love.  Although a man may be offered all the wealth and security of this world, he will despise the offer, counting it as nothing in the face of the Love of all loves.” (My paraphrase of Song of Solomon 8:7)  This is the end time test that is upon us.  This ultimate love coupled with ultimate testing creates greatness.   To know Him is to love Him wholeheartedly.  The enemy of our greatness is gray-ness.  Any place in our lives where we allow ourselves to live in the gray, interferes with our perception of the love of God, which then causes us to make all of the little, woman washing hair in bowldaily decisions as well as the big ones out of a false beliefs about His kindness as well as His severity, which then leads to compromise.  I find I need to daily let the water of God’s Word wash over me, renewing my mind and bolstering my strength and dedication to Him in a world cultural climate that is increasingly anti-Him.   The king Himself has hair as “black as a raven”, never wavering in intensity, vigor, and dedication to those who have been made His own by the power of His blood.  (Song of Songs 5:12) Our charge is to become like Him.   It’s time to “…wash that gray right out of our hair…”. (Click at your own risk ;))