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It’s Shearing Time in the Lockdown2 weeks ago
In this week’s blog, Keith Powell uses the analogy of sheep shearing to help us understand what God is doing in the lockdown and what he is preparing us for. A must read! A prophetic word for this season.
I would like to share a word of encouragement from the Lord, for those of us who are struggling to find hope or clarity in the face of this Covid plague and the resultant lockdown.
God the Father wants to remind us that He is the Creator of the earth and everything in it, the world and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1). This means that He is in control and we are not, though some would like to think they are! Here is the root of our fears, the fear of death especially from Covid, and the real fear that things are out of our control.
Prayer is the key.
At a recent prayer meeting organised by the World Prayer Centre someone shared a dream of watching a sheep being shorn. The sheep represented the established/traditional Church, and once shorn the sheep appeared to be only a quarter of its previous size! This immediately triggered a whole raft of pictures and scriptures prompted by the Holy Spirit, about being led into the Shearing Shed, locked in, so that the Good Shepherd, Jesus, can shear us.
We need fervent prayer to seek the only one who can set us free - and that is Jesus!
As Lazarus found when he died and had been locked down in the tomb, the only way out of lockdown was Jesus (John 11:43-44), while when Peter was imprisoned, locked in chains, it was the prayers of his fellow Christians, and the power of the Holy Spirit, that brought his release (Acts 12:3).
So we need to pray for Jesus to come and be the Good shepherd to His flock and those not yet part of his flock. We know that Jesus will have compassion on us because we are like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34) and need His care to protect us, leading us to be successful in seeking out the lost sheep. The only way out of lockdown for the sheep is to obediently follow Jesus.
But what is the Good Shepherd planning now for his flock? What specific time is it in the Shepherd’s calendar?
I believe He is saying that it’s “Shearing Time”.
One of the main ways to help sheep is to shear off their thick coats of old wool, because the fleece tends to get contaminated from dung, dirt, flies, maggots and other parasites and diseases. If there are brambles and briers, then the wool gets caught up trapping the sheep. Heavy wet fleeces can also prevent ewes, especially when pregnant, from even getting up off the ground, and without a shepherd they would die!
It should not be a surprise then that the Shepherd leads the flock into the Shearing Shed locking them in so that none can run away. In that place of lockdown, each sheep is taken individually by the shepherd into the Shearing Pen for their own good, and for His purposes.
As the sheep submits to the shearing, the shepherd pulls the sheep in close to his body, leaning it in to hold it firmly, so that it is securely held. The sheep is confident that it is in safe hands, trusting the shepherd as they expertly manoeuvre the sheep, cleanly removing the whole fleece in one go. Once sheared, the sheep is ready to be released out of lockdown, out of the shearing pen, into fresh pasture.
Yes it will feel strange to be shorn, we will feel lighter, it will be easier to move more quickly.
It will be different!
Even when Lazarus was released from death in the tomb, he still needed to be shorn of his grave clothes, before he was truly set free. “Jesus said, take off the grave clothes and let him GO”. What grave clothes do we need taking off?
For you cannot go with God’s word through worldly thorns and briers, unless you have been shorn! It is not possible, because some of your God-given assignments will be through such narrow gaps of opportunity that only shorn sheep will get through.
Why does God need to shear us or prune us? Because there is holy work to be done, witnessing to the love of Jesus, lost sheep to be found, souls to be saved, the gospel to be preached to many, multitudes, in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14).
Jesus said to his disciples “GO, I am sending you like lambs among wolves”.
But GO shorn.
Without purse or bag or sandals, take nothing for the journey, no staff, no bread, no money and no extra robes (no excess wool!) (Luke chapters 9 and 10 ). We GO with nothing but the Word of God, the Love of Jesus and the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Be encouraged, during this time of Lockdown we are secure in God’s hands, in the shearing shed. It is a time of transition, of renewed repentance, of cleansing, of being set free, so that we can fulfil God’s purposes, before Jesus returns. It is a time of preparation to GO.
Are You Ready?
Watch Keith speak on this topic at Bagley Baptist Church HERE