"as lambs among wolves"
The other day, while studying the Proverbs, I had reason to head to Matthew 10, that wonderful passage where Jesus tells the disciples to go out in the world as "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Which is a very good way to go through life.
So I decided reread that whole passage, and that led me to the similar account in Luke. In both passages, Jesus says, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves." And that's the imagery that got caught in my mind.
When Scripture talks about wolves, there are a couple of different things it's referring to. In Matthew 7, the ravenous wolves are false prophets, who come in sheep's clothing. We see that again in Acts 20, when Paul says "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."
In the Matthew 10 passage, Jesus' warning is those who would persecute the believers; "men (who) will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues." He added, "You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles."
Although all of these are alive and well in our world today ~ plenty of false prophets, and plenty of Christian persecution in the world ~ I think they are not the only wolves we need to be on the watch for.
Wolves are anything that leads us away from our faith. Temptations of money or power, or the belief that we can find peace anywhere else.
Wolves are anything that attacks our faith ~ mocking "friends," the things of the world that belittle our beliefs and those things we hold dear.
But wolves are also anything that causes us to doubt our faith ~ loneliness, fear, confusion, disappointment, pain... The same things that can make us feel like victims ~ the things that steal our peace can steal our trust in Him.
And that, I think, is the surprising part. That when we feel justified in our emotions, we are taking our eyes off of Him. When we say, "Woe is me" ~ just as when we say, "Yay for me!" ~ we are still saying "Me".
Be on guard. For yourself, and for anyone in your flock. Stay in the hand of the Shepherd, where the wolves cannot harm you.
~ "the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne
will shepherd them and lead them
to living fountains of waters.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." ~