The Hireling Flees

(John 10)

There is much to ponder when watching a sheep and comparing them to us human beings, according to the Bible. Isaiah said, We like sheep have gone astray; He (YAHSHUA) was oppressed, He Was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. (Isa. 53:6-7).  We see first here that sheep wanders and second, they are submissive to their own fate; they are submissive at the time when being sheared. They cannot survive without the care of a shepherd. For they easily wander from the flock; they are easily panicked and because of too much wool, they flip on their back without being able to get up and die of starvation. They are defenseless; easily become prey to wild animals. These are partial characteristics of a sheep, but enough to feel compassion for them. When in my early twenties, I was given a sheep for a pet. He was all white with black markings on his face. Every morning, with the help of my student, he would come to my bedroom to wake me up. He was gentle and his baa sound was my alarm clock. That made my day very special, indeed.

YAHSHUA had much to say concerning a relationship between a shepherd and his sheep found in John ten. When reading this chapter, one cannot help, but feel His love for His sheep. He gives a picture of what a true and good shepherd should be; and compares the care of a good shepherd with that of a hireling. The difference between one and the other is that the shepherd constitutes the owner of the sheep, in this case; but the hireling is just an employee, working for money. The shepherd will do all to save his sheep, even risk his own life to save them. The employee however, has no intention to die for the sheep he is tending. This is quite a difference between the two and YAHSHUA was very clear about that in verses twelve and thirteenth: He said, But the hired servant who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming deserts the flock and runs away. And the wolf chases and snatches them and scatters [the flock]. Now, the hireling flees because he merely serves for wages and is not himself concerned about the wellbeing of the sheep. So, there will never be love to compel the hireling to sacrifice himself for the sake of someone else’s sheep.

I compare this parable to the spiritual shepherds, called pastors. A field of great importance in the eyes of the Lord YAHSHUA, who has given His life for His sheep and trusted them to spiritual shepherds. A pastor that is not concerned with his sheep enough to risk his life for his church, is not a shepherd in his heart, but a hireling; this position is to him only a career. He took the position of pastor for his own gain. Read what the Lord says concerning them: Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasturing! Says the Lord, concerning the shepherds who care for and feed My people; You have scattered My flock and driven them away and have not visited and attended to them; behold, I will visit and attend to you for the evil of your doings, says the Lord…And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will fear no more nor be dismayed, neither will any be missing or lost, says the Lord (Jer. 23:1-2,4). Today’s church of Laodicea is in great need of good shepherds, who will feed their sheep solid Bible truths, and not diluted, tainted spiritual foods. YAHSHUA’S flock are scattered from church to church in search of a good shepherd who will represent YAHSHUA’S love for them. Pastors of some mega churches are putting their flock to sleep by good feeling messages. Truth, as the Prophet Isaiah said, is falling on the ground. No longer perceived as truth, for being rejected by shepherds in their teachings. These “hireling” pastors will someday give God an account for not accomplishing the will of God for their flock.

YAHSHUA, Like a Shepherd, Leads Us

(Ezekiel 34; John 10)

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” He meets all my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. When our Shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures, He is satisfying our physical and spiritual needs; when He leads us to the quiet waters, He is restoring our soul- emotions, intellect and will, after long days in our journey, facing problems and trials; when He leads us to the path of righteousness, He is sanctifying us. Through life’s journey, He is ever with us; when passing through the valley of death, which is our transition from earth to our heavenly home, He will be with us. The enemies of our soul will forever be defeated, when at our victory, our Shepherd will prepare us a table in their presence. He will anoint us with oil, granting us our position with Him as His children; He has raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together in the heavenly sphere in Messiah YAHSHUA (Eph. 2:6). He calls each one of us and chooses those who will listen to Him. He molds us to be more like Him in His process of sanctification. Every step that we take here on earth, must be a step closer to our Shepherd, no matter how hard and steep the road is, for He gives His sheep “hind’s feet” to be able to go to high places close to Him. He has equipped His sheep with all that they need to make the journey.

The closer that His sheep stays to Him, the more that they will be able to hear His voice. As He said, The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them and they follow Me (Jn. 10:27). That’s a close relationship with His sheep. Always guiding them with His staff, showing them the way, always teaching.  The word, listening, in the gerund form, indicates to be paying attention to in a continuous form of the verb; showing an action to being a focus point. It is constant and progressive listening to the voice of their Shepherd. There is a special benefit for those who stay close to the Shepherd. They will not only hear His voice, but will be called His friends, because, He said, I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father (Jn. 15:15). YAHSHUA’S apostles had that position with Him. To them He interpreted the parables, bringing them to the light of understanding them.  Psalm 25:14 says: The secret of the Lord have they who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its deep meaning.

YAHSHUA, My Shepherd

(Palm 23; John 10)

When we read Psalm twenty-three we see the beautiful love the Shepherd has for His sheep. In the course of the sheep’s life, He makes sure that they are well provided, protected and cared for.  He makes sure that the life of His sheep is provided all the way into eternity. This is what a true sheep says about her Shepherd: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack. He is to His sheep their Living Bread, the Manna that came from heaven. Although Israel ate manna in the desert, they died. But the Manna that our Shepherd offers, produces life that is everlasting. YAHSHUA assured Israel that Moses did not give them the Bread from heaven, but it is His Father Who gives the true heavenly Bread; for the Bread of God, said YAHSHUA, is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world; I Am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst anymore (John 6:32-34). That’s the standing promise to the sheep who has accepted YAHSHUA’S invitation.

After a long day of wandering, the Shepherd makes His sheep to rest. He makes sure that they lie down in soft cool grass, from where they receive not only their rest, but also their nourishment. It is a time of reflection, a time of healing, a time to converse with the Shepherd and hear what He has to say. Oftentimes His sheep spend their energy on things that are of no spiritual values. Sometimes they wander away, far from Him and feel lost in the confusion of their mind. The Shepherd calls them to rest and makes them to do so. It can happen through any means He chooses to do: It can come through prolonged disease or any other ways that will cause them to hear His voice and obey Him.  After a restful time in His Word, He then leads them beside the quiet waters. We can never appreciate the quiet waters without first laying down at His feet to be nourished with the bread of life. The quiet waters are the ministry of His Holy Spirit. He came to comfort, to teach, to convict, to guide, among many other things. Our soul is restored with His presence. Our Shepherd then leads us in the path of sanctification for the glory of His name. The paths to sanctification include the hard and fearful valley of death. This is a must for every sheep of YAHSHUA to go through with Him. Fear will not be present in the heart because His presence supplies all they need to overcome the dreadfulness of the valley. The Shepherd uses His rod and His staff to defend, protect and to comfort His sheep. His rod is His weapon against danger that rises against them; it is also the means of discipline when a sheep wanders away from Him.  The staff conveys concern, compassion and comfort. Phillip Keller, a shepherd himself, defines the difference of the two: he says, “Whereas the rod conveys the concept of authority, power, of discipline and defense, the staff speaks of longsuffering and kindness.” The presence of our Shepherd is key in bringing peace to our heart. When we are near Him we experience His peace and nothing in the world can destroy it. Philip confirms: “In the course of time I came to realize that nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master and owner and protector put them at east as nothing else could do. Continuous conflict and jealousy within the flock can be a most detrimental thing. The sheep become edgy, tense, discontented, and restless. They lose weight and become irritable. But one point that always interested me very much was that whenever I came into view and my presence attracted their attention, the sheep quickly forgot their foolish rivalries and stopped their fighting. The shepherd’s presence made all the difference in their behavior.” – Philip Keller