Category Archives: Hard Places

Battling Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

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Battling Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The people of Israel and Judah had abandoned God by their unfaithfulness. They were dishonest and disloyal to God, they had not kept their promises to God and they had neglected their duties to Him. To top it off, they withdrew their fellowship with God.

Jeremiah 2:4-8 NKJV

“Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, That they have gone far from Me, Have followed idols, And have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and pits, Through a land of drought and the shadow of death, Through a land that no one crossed And where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit.”

 

Jeremiah 2:19 NKJV

“Your own wickedness will correct you, And your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing That you have forsaken the Lord your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,” Says the Lord GOD of hosts.”

Israel and Judah’s unfaithfulness caused God to withdraw His protection and support from them. The result was defeat, exile, and judgment. Despite Jeremiah’s pleading and all of the warnings the people would not turn back to God.

Jeremiah 3:6-10 NKJV

“The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.”

Jeremiah 5:22-25 NKJV

“Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it. But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed. They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.”

Defeat, Exile, and Judgment

Defeat takes on many different faces and has many different facets in your life. In First Samuel chanter four, we are shown one example of how abandoning God will lead to your defeat.

1 Samuel 4:1-11 NKJV

“..Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.”

Eli was unfaithful to God by neglecting his duty as a father and as the high priest. He knew that his sons were evil and vile, however he did nothing to correct them. He allowed his sons to continue in their sin, even while performing their duties as priest.

Defeat can be failure to realize a goal that God has for you or it can be your enemy gaining a victory over you.

1 Samuel 4:3 NKJV

“And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”

Israel began to be like all the heathen people around them. Their plan was to take the ark of the covenant into battle with them. They had began to view the ark of the covenant superstitiously – they began to worship the object rather than the One that the object represented, God Himself. The presence of the ark gave the people a false sense of security.

1 Samuel 4:5 NKJV

“And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.”

The Philistines defeated Israel in the battle, despite the ark of the covenant being with them. Many men died in the battle and those left alive fled the battle.

1 Samuel 4:10 NKJV

“So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.”

The defeat was so great that the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines.

1 Samuel 4:17 NKJV

“So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

Abandoning God will lead to a separation from His presence.

Romans 3:23 NKJV

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

When we are separated (exiled) from God’s presence we cannot experience His many blessings for us. God does not leave us – by our sin we voluntary leave His presence. God did not turn His back on Israel, they turned their backs on Him. Abandoning God will ultimately lead to your judgment. Instead of God’s protection and blessings you will receive His punishment.

Overcoming Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

It is God’s desire to do good for His people and to shower them with blessings, however your sins will cause good to be withheld from you. It will also lead to the enemy gaining the upper hand in your life. We must not abandon or forsake God. And we must not replace Him with other things or people.

Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The Bible gives us clear instructions for overcoming defeat from the enemy, exile and judgment. In Second Chronicles chapter seven God tells us that when He has withheld blessing and protection from us, because of our unfaithfulness and sin, we should do the following four things: humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Humble

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The first thing that we are to do is to humble ourselves. When we are truly humble we will see ourselves as God sees us. That includes seeing our sin for what it is. You can never be forgiven of something that you don’t believe is a sin.

A person that knowingly walks in sin could be considered a person that thinks they are better than God. Instead of being a humble person they become proud.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV

“These six things the Lord hates,

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.”

Pride is an abomination (something that causes disgust or hatred ) to God. He will rebuke or resist the proud, but He will give grace to the humble.

Psalm 119:21

“You rebuke the proud—the cursed,

Who stray from Your commandments.”

James 4:6 NKJV

“…God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble”

 

Pray

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The second thing that we are instructed to do is to pray. Prayer is simply talking or communicating with God. We are to go to God and express to Him that we are sorry for what we have done (or not done) and that we want to do what is right in His sight. This is referred to as repenting.

Psalm 32:1-5 NKJV

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old

Through my groaning all the day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.

Selah

I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I have not hidden.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Selah”

God already knows our sin, but we must confess, or admit, it to Him. He knows that sin will lead to eternal death and destruction – that is why He desires for you to see your sin for what it is and to confess it to Him.

1 John 1:9 NKJV

“ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

Repenting has two parts: feeling remorse that you have sinned against a holy God and turning away from the sin. Repenting is not feeling sorry that your were caught in a sin. Many times a person might be sorry that their sins found them out, but not be sorry that they have sinned against God.

Seek God’s Face

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The third thing that we are to do is to seek God’s face. There is a big difference between seeking God’s face (His presence) and seeking His hand (blessings). We should seek God for who He is, not what we can get out of Him. He is our loving Father, the very creator of the universe, not a magic genie at our beck and call. God loves us and He delights in giving us things, but that should not be our reason for seeking Him. More than anything He wants an intimate relationship with you.

Exodus 33:17-23 NKJV

:So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses had seen God’s hand at work in their lives and he had experienced some wonderful times in God’s presence, but he desired an even greater intimacy with Him. Moses sought God, not what God could do for him. If we will seek God with all our heart and soul we will find Him. He will reveal Himself to us in ways that words cannot adequately describe.

Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

God tells us that if we seek Him with all our heart and soul that we will find Him. One definition of seek is to search. Seeking God is an active endeavor, not passive.

Luke 15:8-10 NKJV

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In the parable of the lost coin, a woman has ten coins and she looses one in the house. She lights a lamp and begins to search for the coin. She was very diligent in her search. She swept the entire house in her efforts to find the coin. She was very careful to look underneath things and in the dark corners. The woman valued the coin and she was willing to search until she found it. The same could be said for our search for God’s face. We must open the light of God’s Word and begin our search. We must be diligent in our search. Our effort must be steady and earnest. If we value God’s presence we will not be passive – we will be willing to search with all our heart and with all our soul until He is found.

Turn From Wicked Ways

The fourth thing that we must do is to turn from our wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Wicked ways can be described as morally bad actions, directions, or manner. Morals are generally based on what a person or group of people think is right, good or acceptable. And that is where the problem comes in. When the law of God is forsaken and replaced by personal option everything is acceptable.

Proverbs 21:2 NKJV

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

One thing that has helped in the moral decline of man is the renaming of sin. Instead of calling something a sin, it is now called choice, an alternate lifestyle, or a disorder. We must turn from what man thinks is acceptable and align our beliefs up with God’s Word. We must conform to God’s standards. Lawlessness will prevail when everyone does what is right in their own sight.

 

Dear Father,

Thank-you for Your love and mercy and for the covenant that we have with You. When blessings and protection have been withheld from us because of our unfaithfulness and sin we have the promise that if we humble ourselves, pray, seek Your face, and turn from our wicked ways that You will hear us. You will forgive our sin and You will heal our land.

May we truly humble ourselves and see ourselves as You see us. Remove all pride from us and may we walk humbly before You. Thank-you for the grace that humility brings.

Fill us with a desire for a more vibrant prayer life. Convict us of sin and bad habits in our lives and may we be quick to repent. Thank-you for the eternal life that forgiveness through Jesus Christ brings.

May each of us have an overwhelming desire for more of You and Your presence. Cause us to seek Your face and not only Your hand. Like Moses we have seen Your hand at work in our lives and we had experienced some wonderful times in Your presence, but that is not enough – we long for a more intimate relationship with You. Cause us to seek You, not what You can do for us. Thank-you for the promise that if we will seek You with all our heart and soul we will find You. Reveal Yourself to us in ways that words cannot adequately describe.

May we align our beliefs up with Your Word and may we conform to Your standards. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we do what is right in Your sight not ours.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

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Shepherds

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Shepherds

hard places - Copy      Shepherds

          A shepherd is a man who takes care of, protects, and guides sheep. Sheep without a shepherd wander, get lost, encounter predators and even die. God chose Moses to be the shepherd over His people. Moses was to lead them in their journey to the promised land. Toward the end of Moses’ life, he ask God to give them a new shepherd. One that would take his place after his death.

Numbers 27:15-17  NKJV

“Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”                             

 

     In this country we see less and less spiritual leaders that exhibit selfless, sacrificial service. A true shepherd, according to the Word of God, does not put themselves or their needs, wants or desires above the flock that has been entrusted to them. Godly leadership is not self-serving. A true shepherd does not seek to gain position or wealth at the expense of the flock.

Ezekiel 34:1-4  NKJV

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.’ ” 

          A true shepherd will seek to serve, not to be served. Jesus is the greatest example of a True Shepherd. A true shepherd knows his position and his power, however he does not flaunt it over those that he is leading. He chooses to serve his flock rather than being served by his flock. According to the above Bible passage, a good shepherd will feed the flock, strengthen the weak, heal those who are sick, bind up the broken, bring back those driven away, and seek the lost.

Ezekiel 34:5-6  NKJV

“So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”                

          When a group of believers or a church (a flock / sheep) does not have a true shepherd several things happen. They are scattered, they became food for the enemy, they wander through all the mountains, and they go up on every high hill.

 

I. Without A Shepherd The Flock Is Scattered

Matthew 9:36  NKJV

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”   

          A flock (church) is thrown here and there without a shepherd. They are separated and driven off in different directions.

Scatter means to throw here and there; sprinkle; strew; separate and drive off in different directions; dispel. It can also mean to separate and drive away so that an original form or arrangement is lost.

          Without a shepherd many things change within a church. People can be “scattered” in their thoughts, ideas, goals, purpose, mission, and vision for the church and still be sitting under one roof. This “scattering” leads to disunity. Disunity is disunity, no matter how quiet it is. God does not bless disunity, nor does the Holy Spirit move in disunity. All the blessings that the church receives comes from unity.

Psalm 133:1-3  NKJV

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard,

The beard of Aaron,

Running down on the edge of his garments.

It is like the dew of Hermon,

Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing–

Life forevermore.”   

II. Without A Shepherd The Flock Becomes Food For The Enemy

Paul knew that when a shepherd is taken away from a flock that the enemy will move in and devour the sheep.

Acts 20:29  NKJV

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”  

          A wolf will threaten sheep in two ways – from without and from within. The same is true concerning the church. The enemy will threaten the church from the outside and from the inside.

The enemy will attack from the outside. Unbelievers are a dangerous threat from the outside when we do not walk in the Spirit and begin to listen to worldly opinions. Especially when we make alliances with them.

 2 Corinthians 6:14-18  NKJV

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’Therefore

‘Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.’”  

          The enemy will also attack from within. Self-serving people are a threat from inside. During a period of time without a shepherd, the sheep must be very careful to guard them selves against false prophets (a person speaking in the name of God) who seek to build themselves up and to turn the people away from the truth.

Matthew 7:15-20  NKJV

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs  from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” 

III. Without A Shepherd The Flock Wanders Through The Mountains

Without a shepherd the flock (sheep) wanders throughout the mountains in search of grass to eat. If good food cannot be found they will eat what ever they find in an effort to stay alive. Sometimes the food that they find to eat is bad and will eventually take their life.

When a church is without a shepherd they become hungry and begin to seek out food for themselves. After being hungry for an extended period of time they will “eat” whatever is placed in front of them – good or bad.

Proverbs 27:8  NKJV

“Like a bird that wanders from its nest

Is a man who wanders from his place.” 

          When we wander away from sound doctrine, and partake of whatever comes along, it means losing our security and becoming open to new and powerful temptations. Partaking of whatever comes along will eventually lead to spiritual death.

 

IV. Without A Shepherd The Flock Goes Up On The High Hills

The high places are on the high hills. Without a true shepherd the sheep will wander up to the high places. In the Bible “high places” were places of worship on a hill or on a platform in a temple. The Canaanites usually built their places of worship on a hill. They considered the high places a gateway between them and heaven. It was their ‘way’ to their god. High places are ‘footholds’ that you allow the enemy to have in your life.

Some Israelites began to use these same places to worship God. The people used the high places to worship God, Baal and Asherah all at the same time. Trying to mix the two types of worship (true and false) together eventually led to idolatry.

Many times when a flock does not have a true shepherd they will begin to do what is right in their own sight, other than what is right in God’s eyes. They will begin to mix their own ideas and beliefs in with their worship of God.

When we allow “high places” in our lives and in our churches, we are defiling ourselves. We loose our purity and play the part of a harlot.

 Ezekiel 20:30  NKJV

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations?’ ”   

     God does not desire for us or our churches to defile our worship to Him. We cannot worship God in Spirit and in truth up on the “high places” (the high hills). When we began to mix the things of the world with our worship to God it can lead to idolatry in our lives. God has called us to be separate and to destroy all the ‘high places’ in our lives and in our churches. We are not to compromise our worship with sinful values or practices. We must maintain integrity in all parts of our lives, including our worship.

2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV

“Therefore

Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,

And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.”   

          The Israelites used the excuse that they did not have a place to worship God in order to use the high places. Without a true shepherd, there will be some people that begin to make excuses about the compromises that are being made.

  I Kings 3:2  NKJV

“Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days.”   

          The high places were defiled and therefore not an acceptable place for worship for God. God had specifically told the people (in the Ten Commandment) that He would not accept defiled worship. The people tried to justify (defend, to make right) their sinful actions. God tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice. Sincerity (freedom from pretense or deceit; honesty) and obedience (doing what one is told, submission to authority) are the prerequisites for worship that pleases God.

When some churches find themselves without a shepherd (or with a shepherd that is not a true shepherd) they begin to mix things of the world in with their worship to God and they too, make excuses for it. They seek to justify their “watered down” religion. They have not headed to the instructions of keeping themselves separate from the world. Disobedience in our worship is idolatry because we are putting our will before God’s will.

 1 Samuel 15:22  NKJV

“So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.’ ”   

          When a person or church begins to dabble with high places (mix the things of the world with our worship to God) they will set themselves up for pain, trouble and eventually judgment. Denying God’s authority always has consequences, even when we have no shepherd!

Psalm 78:58  NKJV 

“I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense alters, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you.”    Leviticus 26:30  NKJV

“For they provoked Him to anger with their high places And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.”  

          When we find ourselves as sheep without a true shepherd, must be careful to stay away from the high hills. The Canaanites thought that their ‘high places’ would lead them to their god- it was their pathway to their god. Today there are many people that are trying to reach God through many different ways, other than the pathway that God has given us. A true shepherd  keeps everyone (the sheep) on the right path and to keep them off the “high hills”.

John 14:6  NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”    

Conclusion:

A church needs a shepherd. Without one the church and the people suffer. Shepherds go before their flocks and lead them. they do not “drive” the sheep in front of them. A true shepherd will feed, protect, and guide their sheep.

Jeremiah 3:15  NKJV

“And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”