Discerning the Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
By Sheila M. Herron
“Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing”, was the word that the Lord had given me. He instructed me to do a research on wolves and sheep, to study the characteristics, habitat, behavior, and species, both from a biblical and natural point of view.
Lets start with the wolves. They are endangered species, this means that they are in threat of ceasing to exist. In view of the Sheepherders and Ranchers around the country, wolves are a threat to their flocks. Sheep on the contrary, have been in high demand since biblical times existed. They were used in Levitical times for burnt offerings (Leviticus 1:10), sin offerings (Leviticus 4:32), trespass offerings (Leviticus 5:15), and peace offerings (Leviticus 22:21). Their many uses still exist today such as milk, food (lamb is a delicacy), clothing, clearing pastures of shrubbery, and cheese, which is derived from one of their species; the goat. The most important usage in biblical times was the Sacrificial Lamb, which is Jesus Christ.
Wolves live on prairies, forestlands, and mountains. There are basically two types of wolves, the gray or timber wolf and the red wolf. In the winter, they travel in packs of approximately 5 – 30 wolves, searching for food. Small animals and birds are common prey for wolves, but a pack will attack reindeer, caribou, sheep, and other large mammals, usually selecting weak, old, or very young animals for easy capture.
When no live prey can be found, wolves feed on the decaying flesh of dead animals.
Wolves are dominant over each other (they draw power from each other); the pack leader is called the alpha male and his mate, the alpha female and they are believed to be mated for life.
Wolves are nocturnal, which means that they hunt for their prey during the night. (See Jeremiah 5:6, Habakkuk1:8)
The communal howling of a pack serves to communicate with other packs in order to advertise territorial claim or simple pleasure. Visual and scent signals are also important.
They are ravenous (Genesis 49:27), which means that they are extremely hungering for something, seeking self-gratification of wants and desires. They are voracious, consuming food in great quantities and predatory, eager to steal from or destroy others for gain. Their natural ability to prey on others is how they survive; they are very aggressive and persistent. Wolves cannot be domesticated.
The sheep, on the other hand since biblical days, have always been easy to tame. In
2 Samuel 12:3, it shows how a poor man had nothing but a little ewe lamb that he brought home and nourished, it grew up with he and his children and ate and drank as the family did and became like his own child.
Sheep can also adapt to various environments that range from desert to tropical conditions. Wild species such as the Bighorn are found in Western, North America and the Dall sheep in Canada and Alaska.
Sheep are known to be peaceful, gentle (docile/naïve, See Jeremiah 11:19), defenseless (See Micah 5:8), and ones that need care and attention (See Ezekiel 34).
When left alone, they are open prey for the wild (wolves), Jeremiah 50:6,7 shows how lost sheep get devoured. Not only will the wild come after them, but also the stronger sheep will try and overtake the weaker ones. (See Ezekiel 34:16-22)
Getting back to what the Lord spoke to me, “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing”, through this research and life’s experience, I believe that God wants to show us how our discernment needs to be sharpened, so that when the enemy sends us a wolf, we will not get caught off guard. Sometimes as women (not to exclude men), have a tendency to take people in and embrace them with our hearts, we make the mistake of letting down our guard and putting our emotions first. We can be docile, like the sheep; therefore, we are quick to make friends, because after all, “We all just want to get along”. But as the Lord has said, “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing”. It does not matter where we are, there’s always going to be wolves, both in the world and in the church. We just have to know their character and their motive, if we don’t; we will be devoured. Remember wolves like to prey on sheep and cause division. (See John 10:12)
In the beginning of this article, I described some of the behavior patterns of the wolf, one being that they prey on and devour the weak, the young, and the decaying flesh of the dead. I asked the Lord to give me a comparison of this in the spirit realm and He showed me that the weak are the backsliders, those that have left their first love (See Revelation 2:4), the young are the baby Christians and/or the spiritually immature (See 1 Peter 2:2, 1 Corinthians 3:1, Hebrews 5:13), and the decaying flesh of the dead are the spiritually dead, those that have not been saved (See Revelation 3:1).
I also stated that wolves prey during the night, this is likened to the enemy, he only operates in darkness and just as the wolf roams large territories seeking to claim and destroy, so does Satan. (1 Peter 5:8) Even their habitats are in darkness; they live in caves, burrows, and hollow trees.
The Lord also showed me in the spirit realm, that there is envy in operation with the wolf against the sheep, because of the wolves’ behavior they are no longer wanted, they cannot go any further, but the sheep is always available to be used. Therefore, the wolves will come as sheep when in actuality, they are predators. They know that others see them as a threat; therefore they will come in disguise. They befriend the other sheep, under false pretense of course, and absorb enough information to destroy the flock. As stated earlier, wolves are only interested in personal gain and they will destroy others in order to get it.
They can take on the many forms (familiar spirits), and camouflage themselves to fit right into the environment. They may even come as sheep, but remember in the earlier part of this article where I stated, that at times the stronger sheep will try and overtake the weaker ones. This is why we must stay in tune with the Lord, test the spirits, stay in the Word, and stay alert. We must know when it is of the Lord and when it is of the devil, we must have an intimate relationship with the Lord; this will allow us to know His voice. God’s word says, “My sheep know my voice and they follow” (John 10:27). Just as we know our loved ones voices without seeing them, we should know our Father’s voice. We can’t trust in man and what he says or prophesies- (lies) to us, the bible says to trust no man, but God. Now do not get me wrong, I do believe in the gift of prophecy, but we have to test the spirits and be sure that it lines up with God’s word. Prophecy should come with confirmation of what the Spirit of God has already spoken to you. Be it doom and gloom or blessings and prosperity, if it does not confirm with the Spirit of God, than it is not of God. Beware of false prophets! God does use individuals as His vessels and I praise Him for that, but we are responsible for knowing Him for ourselves. My pastor even tells us that we should not just hear the word on Sunday, but go home and study the message and check him because even though he is a man called by God to teach the Gospel, it does not mean that he is exempted from making mistakes. And he’s open to correction if he is in error.
The key principle is to go before God with an open mind and a willing heart, having faith that He will perfect those areas that are imperfect. If we are open and willing, God will expose those areas; but if we are not, then we will only deceive ourselves.
Like the wolves’ visual scent and signal are of significance to them, so should our spiritual discernment be to us. When we get a check in our spirit, we should be able to smell a wolf that is on it’s way before it gets here. Notice how sharp a dog’s senses are, they can hear sirens before we do and sense earthquakes or other types of natural disasters way ahead of time. That’s how we should be; it’s not about our natural senses, its all spiritual. When we are fine tuned to the Spirit, our spiritual senses overpower the natural ones and those things that we do not pick up in the natural realm, will be caught in the spirit realm.
The first key to hearing is to be humbled, when we humble ourselves before the Lord, we are submitting to Him in obedience to His will, we are yielding to His Spirit which allows us to be open to hear His voice. Yielding not only leads to submission, but also to separation from the world. Since the world opposes God’s will, one cannot revel in its lusts and at the same time do the will of God. When we do not yield to the Holy Spirit, we are closed-minded to God’s will, deaf to His voice, and blinded to His word and the spirit of deception will come in and cause us to walk in denial, assuming that we have everything together spiritually.
Not one person is exempt from being deceived and no one is so sanctified that they can’t slip up and sin; everyone should examine their own selves’ (not other people) daily. Never think or say, “It won’t happen to me”, because the moment that you deny it, it happens. I’m not saying this just for thought, I have experienced it and it took more than just a prayer to cure it.
Once a person allows sin to come in, it will only get deeper if they continue to deny it and walk in it. I remember hearing Joyce Meyers ministering about cracks being in our foundations and while she was ministering, I remembered a crack that was in my sons’ wall in the corner of their room. When I first noticed the crack, there was an ant coming in, I exterminated the ant but ignored the crack. The next day, my son complained that there were ants on his bed, and when I went to investigate it, I discovered that they were coming in from the same crack that I ignored on the prior day. I chose to kill the ant and ignore the crack. It was a choice that I made by my own free will. Had I killed the ant and patched up the crack, the other ants would not have invaded, but since I chose to ignore the entryway, the others saw an opening and came in even stronger. Sin works the same way; it starts out as a seed that takes root and from that root, if it is not killed, it becomes fertilized with more sin and begins to take root and sprout out into bigger branches. Have you ever noticed, while pulling up weeds, how it is easier to pull up weeds that are just beginning to sprout than it is to pull up ones that have been there for a while? In my own experience, I usually pull on the larger weeds and they generally break off at the stem leaving the root firmly packed in place. When we allow the root of sin to grow, those roots become embedded and continue to grow. Weed killer cannot even kill them, but GOD, can get to the root of every problem and root out everything that should not be growing inside of us, but we must first yield to Him.
If we do not surrender to the Lord, the enemy will continue to hinder our spiritual growth. God’s word says, for lack of knowledge My people perish (See Hosea 4:6) we will be left in the dark for the wolves to prey on and devour, but if we decide to deny the flesh and walk in the Spirit, there is one true Shepherd who welcomes us back with open arms (See Ezekiel 34:11-31).
Yes, the natural sheep are known to be defenseless and naïve, but God has given us greater power through His word, which enables us the Spiritual sheep, to be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.