The Lost Sheep
Verses for context:
- Exodus 22:10-11 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it: Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
- Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
- Psalm 110:1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
- Jeremiah 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.
- Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
- Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Exodus 22:10-11 is just one example of the 613 laws the Hebrew/Israelite people had to follow. This “law”, or really what it is known as, is one of many ‘instructions for decent human living’ that God created for his people. The goal: harmonious and equitable living. [notice I did not say “fair”]
It would appear in content to be aimed at livestock owners and farmers in general. So, if you were a fisherman, the ‘exacting’ of the law could be argued by the literalist in court. This habit of arguing and exacting the laws became the mainstream in the 1st century Judean hillsides. These litigants are the Scribes and Pharisees.
- Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, ….
- Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
- Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Here is the most beautiful thing about God; he lives by his own rules. Watch the progression of the physical follow scripture in the spiritual….
Who is God’s neighbor? The Scripture says that Jesus is right next to him. But, According to scripture as well, they are One. We must refer to Exodus 28:1 when God assigned the priesthood as shepherds of the flock. These are to be the teachers of the instructions of the “Will/Word of God”.
- “And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.”
So under the care of Shepherds there have been sheep that were lost, taken, and even killed. But none of us have seen the outcome… true? Why were they lost? There are two ways to look at it…
1. the sheep willfully walked from the shepherd
2. the shepherd wasn’t paying attention…
Sheep are relatively simple in nature. They like consistency and repetition. They are always hungry and need to be lead to safety. All traits of the human race as well. Shepherds of the day grazed the hillside without leashes or fences, this was the point of the instructions. To lead the sheep gently along, not fencing them in. This was exactly the end result. The Scribes and Pharisees had built fences around the instructions and then acted as the guard, accuser, judge, jury and executioner of the ‘law’. (Hollywood inserts creepy music)
Now, according to Exodus 22, this must be handled by what? An oath from the Lord? That is a covenant! A Promise! One much like Isaiah prophesied.
- Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
How did Isaiah know? Where did he learn of the Savior? Where did this covenant start? Where did all things start? In the Beginning….
*H7225 רֵאשִׁית Be-re’shiyth (Bet ray-sheeth’) n-f. 1. the first, in place, time, order or rank. The word “beginning” or Be-re’shyit contains the Hebrew letters Bet, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yod and Tav. These were pictographic letters with each creating their own word. These words are often compared to our compound words like “goodhearted” or “soft-spoken” only a little more complex.
The word beginning here is translated by the individual Hebrew letters thusly; Bet is Tent/house, Resh is head/father, Aleph means leader, Shin is a set of fangs/teeth meaning piercing, Yod is a hand/arm and Tav is a set of Crossed sticks.
The full understanding of the word ‘beginning’ is now, “The head of the house of the Father, pierced by the hand, on a cross, to bring the covenant.”
God is telling us that He will send Yeshua Messiah to redeem the world from the very first word in Scripture!
This is verified for us in Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
I try to thank God at every chance I get…. And here he says “it my pleasure”. WOW!
The covenant isn’t an “Old” or “New”; its not about “Greek” or “Jew”; it is about the Salvation of me and ewe! All the ewes in all the world. The sheeple. Before time as we know it began.
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
So a brief recap. The responsibility of the sheep (the people of God) has been placed upon shepherds and that the desired situation, of the safety of the sheep, has been violated. We do not see the one that is to blame for their destruction and that the blame game is in full swing. (sounds a little like the snake and the Garden)
Luke 15:3-7 King James Version
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Although the parable does not specifically identify whom is at fault. Just the notion that God as the shepherd wants to restore the sheep. In complete harmony with the Genesis 1:1 covenant. It is with diligent investigation we can see where the instructions and the covenant begin to deteriorate.
- Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
- Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
- Psalm 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
What we see in the warning from Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Psalmist and the very words of Jesus, is the failure of the shepherds to lead the people in the right directions.
If it was a problem in the Garden, a problem in the Promised Land, a problem is Jesus’ day….
Do you think it is a problem today?
What did God tell them not to do? Mix lies with truth.
- Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
- Exodus 23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
- Ezekiel 44:10 And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
This is Satan’s goal, always has and always will, to confuse religion with faith. Proverbs 22:25 warns about an angry man, and Satan surely fills that bill. The proverbs warns; “Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”
It is a forgone conclusion that the entirety of the blame cannot rest on the teachers. We all have free will and it is up to us to search out the truth as 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us. The same Isaiah that warns the priest also warns the parishioner, along with several others…
- Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
- 1 Kings 8:50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
- Psalm 78:32 For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
- Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The culmination of the sheep and the shepherd are wonderfully and completely summarized for us in the Gospel of John…
10:1-18 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.”
Jesus is saying to them that he recognizes the fraud that has befallen the leadership. The Priests are fleecing the flock while jointly oppressing them in the exacting of the laws. They had changed Gods laws for their own form of religion.
- Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…
- Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
- Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Returning to Mark 10:1-18…
“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. ~ in Genesis 1:1!
We can see from the Garden the mixing of the clean (what God said) with the unclean (what Satan said) and the result was sin and exclusion. Which God fixed. He saved them. It was free. It was based on the faith, it was through God’s grace, it was not of themselves lest they could boast. Was there accountability afterwards? Yes. Look at Cain.
Genesis 4:3-7 “And in process of time (an appointment) it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (Day of Atonement)
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
- Exodus 29:36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
- Leviticus 23:27-28 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.
This had been taught to Cain, by God himself! …and by his parents in a living example once a year, every year. This is why were are to memorialize this feast, to remind us of Gods plan of Salvation for all sheep.
God has asked us to celebrate His accomplishments!!!
As the beneficiary of His bounty why wouldn’t I?
Have the shepherds told you the truth? Or are they mixing it with some man-made religion?
I asked a woman one time “if everything you knew about your religion was a lie would you want to know the truth?” She was a life-long member of a faith that proclaims many paths to heaven. Her answer…. “NO! I like what I have.” She prefers the lie.
This is the warning to the churches…
- Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
- Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
- Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
- Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
- Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
- Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
What are we overcoming…. The world and all its lies…. What are we enduring… the hatred of the world because of our association to Jesus and His righteousness? You know it!!
We become a peculiar nation when we live out the instructions, memorialize the feasts and actually treat others as the Bible instructs.
I will close with this: Mercy and Grace.
Mercy, the definition is – compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to another’s power. Grace on the other hand is a bit more complicated. For me, growing up in the evangelical world, grace was some sort of ‘ranch dressing’ for our lifestyle…. it covered it all and made us happy.
Grace, several definitions that really need to be intricately woven together to really grasp the concept….
n. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
n. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
n. A sense of fitness or propriety.
When I think about my own life…[I feel like I need to wash my brain with Dawn and a brillo pad]…
I can see where Yehovah has, in his seemingly effortless movement, shown me compassion and forbearance. Additionally, He has given me a sense of propriety based on His characteristics for my refinement because I am the subject of His authority.
Think about that…. I will say it again….
Yehovah has, in his seemingly effortless movement, shown me compassion and forbearance. Additionally, He has given me a sense of propriety based on His characteristics for my refinement because I am the subject of His authority.
This is why the sea parted, this is why the jail doors flew open, this is why the flood came and this is most definitely why the stone killed the giant.
They are all subject to Gods authority.
I had to ask myself as a believer of Yehovah, Creator of the Universe, Elohim of the House of Israel…. am I a willing subject of HIS authority?
If you are not subject to His authority then He is not your shepherd, you are your own shepherd… and how do you know when you are lost…
Luke 15:32 It was meet (a great idea) that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.