Shallow Shepherds & Wandering Saints
Many of you have attended our Prayer Summits in years past, and know the ministry of friends of ours such as Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets and Jim Goll. They, with several other prophetic leaders from around the world, convene each year for a “prophetic roundtable” where they pray and seek the Lord for several days, and wait upon the Lord for His word.
Julie and I were reminded recently about the consensus of opinion that came from that meeting in regards to England. Their summary was as follows:
“We felt that Satan knows what an important nation England is to the re-evangelization of Europe, and he is marshalling his forces to try and discourage, destroy, and otherwise destroy England’s spiritual and godly leadership in the world. There was a call from the prophets for the intercessors to pray for England.”
We were encouraged to think of how many intercessors and prayer warriors were targeting England in particular, as those of us who live here know full well how difficult it can be at times. That brings me to a difficult topic of what I call “shallow shepherds,” or pastors and teachers who are compromising truth for tolerance. This “tolerance” of ungodliness is indeed causing England’s leadership spiritually in the world to diminish.
Ezekiel chapter 34 is one of those chapters in scripture we’d rather not read, as God speaks of His own frustration with shepherds who have lost the vision of what they’re really called to do, and His frustration with those “in the flock” who mistreat others in the same pen. I suggest you read the entire chapter, particularly in the Amplified Bible. There are wagonloads of information in this chapter that could be spoken to, but one verse that I want you to hear is verse 11 where following a strong rebuke to the shepherds who are not doing their job He says this:
For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I Myself, will search for My sheep and will seek them out.
When spiritual shepherds don’t do their job, God in His great love will find those who are hungry for Him. What I’m about to say next is dangerous, as some will misconstrue my thoughts and say I’m against the local church, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Regardless, if churches and pastors don’t do their duty, the Father Himself will feed His sheep, but not in a church building. Is that His perfect will? No. But His sheep are His, not any man’s, and He seems quite protective about that issue. As church leaders we operate under a principle of divine stewardship of God’s children. In the natural world, when parents don’t care for their children good government will rescue the children from the wayward parents. The government of God is no different.
As someone who was allowed by the Lord to speak almost every weekend in another church in this country for years, I was constantly exposed to the spiritual temperature of the land we live in, and found myself literally weeping sometimes at the lack of Christian character and the overall sense of apathy in the nation. We could point fingers at many reasons and make many excuses but the facts remain the facts. People who are hungry after God by majority aren’t getting taken care of in church. Please don’t mishear me. I was and am honored to work with many incredible church leaders and pastors who most definitely do take care of the church, but their heart cry is the same as mine. “Where are the shepherds who will stand up for old fashioned Bible truths!”
Because of this void, hundreds if not thousands of God-hungry people are being fed elsewhere than “in the farmland,” the local church. God is determined that they do not go hungry, so He takes them to “foreign lands,” secluded valleys, mountain tops, or wherever is necessary so that He can speak to them. Right here I have to say a gigantic “Thank God” for God TV. I shudder to think where we’d be as a nation if there wasn’t that fountain to drink from for so many. But God’s best is that these people are shepherded and fathered in the “house of the Lord.” Scripture says in Psalm 92:13,
“Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
In the house of the Lord, is where we’re intended to flourish, but, as all Israel is not Israel, so all churches are not churches (Rom 9:6). Therefore I believe in this nation we find many who fit the definition found in Ezekiel 34 again. It’s the natural instinct of all the animal kingdom to seek out food, and if none is in the immediate area, the search begins. The good news is that God is seeking out His own and caring for them, much to the frustration of the shallow shepherds. There will always be shallow shepherds with shallow saints filling their pews or seats, listening to soulish messages that do not produce muscle. However God’s people are intended to be warriors out in the world seeking the lost, and warriors need meat not milk. Milk alone won’t keep you in the spiritually damp climate of this land; you need meat and a good covering to get the job done and stay warm.
As intercessors and people of prayer, we should never judge these shepherds however; that’s God’s business. In many cases the problem was that no one understood the need to build a prayer hedge around these ministers. Francis Frangipane spoke to this years ago in his book “The Three Battlegrounds.” To paraphrase from his forward he said, “It is not long, usually five to ten years in the ministry, and often the zeal for ministry wanes. The ministry itself, imperceptibly, deteriorates from a high calling to a job. What occurred was that zeal, by itself, challenged the treachery of hell and lost. Youthful vision became dimmed under the dark cloud of relentless satanic assault. Under the weight of increasing frustrations and discouragement, compromise and then iniquity set in.”
To the people of prayer I would say, don’t judge these men, pray for them. To the shepherds who judge the wandering saints, don’t judge them for searching for good food that for whatever reason you’re presently unable to give them. Pray for them, and pray for yourselves that God would give you fresh oil, and fresh manna from heaven. You may get good sermon information on the internet, but you only get God’s anointing on your knees.
There is so much more that could be said, but my job is to provoke you to thought. Let me finish by listing just some of God’s “I will’s” from Ezekiel 34. This is the GOOD news!
Seek out My sheep
Feed them upon the mountains
Cause them to lie down
Seek that which is lost
Bandage the hurt and the crippled
Heal the weak and the sick
Feed them by the watercourses
Feed them in all the inhabited places of the country
He will do it!