Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 5, 2018
By Boyd Bailey
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-16
I am angry. Angry at leaders who use their position of trust and implied integrity to take advantage of children and church members. I pray my anger is not fueled by self-righteousness, since I am a fellow sinner with my own struggles and chronic weaknesses. My heart hurts and grieves for the victims: some lost their innocence, some lost their life savings, some lost a respected leader—but all lost. Ministers who minister for themselves are predators, preying on the weak, the naive and the deceived. They are captives of their lust, their greed and their sick souls.
Jesus called out the false prophets. His word picture is striking—a wolf posing as a sheep. Outwardly gentle as a sheep, inwardly ferocious as a wolf. Outwardly a smooth teacher with attractive words, inwardly a mercenary manic, luring in his prey. Outwardly an authentic shepherd, caring for the sheep, inwardly a selfish hired hand, sheering the sheep for gain. Outwardly strengthening the weak and binding up the injured, but inwardly allowing the sheep to stray. Jesus warns, “Watch out”. Look closely with the Holy Spirit’s discernment for the fruit is rotten!
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them” (Ezekiel 34:8-10).
Fortunately, our heavenly Father does not sit idle as His sheep are exploited, exposed and endangered by shameful shepherds. When a man scatters the sheep by his prideful, divisive behavior, our Great Shepherd goes after the lost and lonely lamb with His great love, grace and mercy. The pastures of God’s grace are still green, we can recover beside still waters and heal our broken hearts. Our soul can still sup with our ever present Savior Jesus. We mustn’t forever abandon our faith because of fallen figureheads of a false faith. Forgiveness keeps us faithful. The flock of God will overcome ravaging wolves through trust and hope in our Great Shepherd.
What shall we do to prevent the prostitution of faith in the future? Remember, remember, remember, we do not finish well alone—only with accountability and community. A man left by himself worships the image of himself. A person isolated from the flock, is not accountable to the flock. As God stated in the beginning, “It’s not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Loving accountability does not look the other way, but looks below the surface at what’s real. Trust, but verify. True shepherds walk in manure, and don’t run from wolves. Pray for them. “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
Heavenly Father, my heart breaks for the victims of religious leaders who use their position to exploit others. Please heal and restore those who have been deeply wounded, in Jesus’ name, amen.
How can I be more accountable in my work, family and relationships? Who can I offer loving accountability with my time and concern?
True shepherds walk in manure, and don’t run from wolves. #WisdomHunters #wolvesinsheepsclothing
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