“I found her!” the young shepherd’s companion called out in triumph with a lone ewe following behind. He crossed the arched stone bridge and made his way back up the lush green hill.
“Thank God,” replied the new hire, throwing his voice down the hill. He watched them make their way up the hillside.
“You saved my hide,” said the shepherd, briefly closing his eyes in relief. “Mallory’s one of those we have to keep our eyes on,” he expressed, exhaling and delivering a pat of approval on his friend’s back which was damp with perspiration. “You must be hungry. Let’s eat,” he continued, thoroughly surveying the ban of sheep before sitting down with him in the shade of the oak. The men unpacked their food and began eating sandwiches and conversing between themselves.
The newly-found ewe joined the flock once again and mingled among the sheep entertaining them with details of her most recent escapade. Her gallivanting provided regular topics of gossip for the others as they followed the shepherd throughout the master’s countryside. On one account, she had even lured another ewe to accompany her away from the safety of the flock.
From a distance, Gabby, an older ewe, listened carefully to the stories as the ewe chattered. As a submissive sheep, Gabby knew exactly what the shepherd expected and in her sensitivity guarded the others from danger. Without being noticed, Gabby moved in closer through the circles of listeners. She agreed with the others that Mallory’s stories were compelling, but she knew that something wasn’t right about this ewe. And on this occasion, she decided it was time to move in closer and find out exactly what.
The shepherd and his comrade finished their lunches and began loading their backpacks. The shepherd took hold of his staff and threw out his customary call for the sheep to follow him to the other side of the hill to graze afresh. Ambling up the slope, the ban followed behind the shepherd, all except for Mallory and a circle of captivated listeners.
Uncharacteristically, Gabby stayed behind too, but only in her uncomfortable fervor to discover more about this storyteller.
The stragglers listened on edge to the interesting character’s stories as she continued her charming monologue. Gabby was well aware that they would soon be rebuked by the shepherd. Standing strategically behind the other hearers, Gabby sought anonymity as her eyes discreetly probed the ewe discerningly for clues confirming her suspicion.
Gabby continued scrutinizing the indistinctive features. Then, a most unfamiliar particularity caught her attention. With a growing puzzled expression, Gabby focused in sharply on what she had never before seen, the worn edge of a largely-concealed zipper running down the middle of the wooly abdomen.
For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
or there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.
1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.