Divineinsight BY HUMPHREY MTANDWA
TO anoint is to smear or rub oil on to something. It was a common culture among the herdsmen in Israel, they anointed their sheep.
The main reason was to protect the sheep from parasites. The shepherds had wisdom to study the environment or pastures that they would lead the flock through. Some of the places had parasites and when the sheep were outside these environments, they were healthier.
This was reflected in healthier skin and improved eating habits. Christians are compared to sheep, and in the same way sheep are affected by their environment also a Christian can be a victim of demonic attacks because of the environment he or she is in.
Our Lord Jesus Christ calls himself the Good Shepherd and it is his sole responsibility to lead his flock.
The young lambs in the sheepfold have not learnt the master’s voice so they follow the bleating of the older rams and other sheep within the fold.
The Lord Jesus said my sheep hear my voice, but young lambs cannot identify the master’s voice unless they learn from following the elders who follow the master.
The problem comes when the young lambs follow hardened sheep that no longer follow or never got to learn the voice of the master.
So in the same way a natural shepherd can notice the negative impact of an environment over his flock. The Lord Jesus also looks over his flock. Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11 “be followers of me as I am of Christ”. Because lambs are yet to learn the voice of Christ, they follow those who, through grace, are called to lead them.
Apostle Paul understood lambs could follow someone who is not following Christ. Jesus spoke of hirelings and explained how hirelings also take up responsibility over the fold in order to manipulate the flock. They lead the flock into death and destructive ways.
The hireling anoints also the sheep, but instead of anointing to protect, he anoints to prepare the flock to be a good meal. Many have assumed they are being anointed while they are being marinated.
The shepherd has so many responsibilities over the flock. He looks over the sheep and because of his love for his flock, he personally knows each sheep. Because of this, he notices the sickly and quickly removes, to avoid chain infections.
The shepherd had the wisdom to see the sickly sheep — the challenge comes for us as believers when the master tries to remove people from our lives who we feel should remain with us.
The sheep and the lambs were expected to follow the shepherd so they would be protected from every attack and negative influence over them.
The sheep have strength in that they flock together and they rarely are separated. The plan of the enemy is push the Christians away from the flock and deafen them from hearing the voice of the shepherd.
A Christian who does not understand the voice of God will be victim of different elements that are around us. There are predators, there are parasites and even environments that affect Christians spiritually. Only an ability to understand the voice of the master pushes one away from the negative influence of these forces.
The master’s voice is never discovered outside the sheepfold and his voice is learnt as you follow other sheep.
God bless you.
Humphrey Mtandwa is a minister of the gospel based in South Africa. He has written several books including The Enoch Generation, Truthfulness and Theophany. He blogs at mtandwa.blogspot.com and can be contacted via e-mail or WhatsApp on +27 610286350.