• Pastor Rusty Owens

Spiritual Tracking

“Tell me, Oh you whom I love, where do you feed your flock, where do you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions?”

“If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your little goats beside the shepherd tents.” Song of Solomon 1:7,8

I love this passage. It shows the heart of a maiden wanting to be near her lover. It shows a maiden not content to sit and feed with the friends of the shepherd, but wanting the shepherd himself.

To much of the Church seems to be content in having the shepherd explained to them rather than encountering him. But the masses they seem turn aside only to hear the voice of his companions and they feed with the flocks of his companions. They place greater value on hearing the voice of the friends of the bridegroom rather than hearing the bridegroom himself. (John 3:29.) They feel this is “safe”. There is nothing safe about getting “all” your information about Christ second hand, there needs to be a first hand encounter with God. We are like the Hebrews in the wilderness telling Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (Exo. 20:18,19.) Like the Hebrews we want our information fed to us second hand. “So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near.” (Exo. 20:21.) The scriptures compel us to draw near. (Heb. 10:32.) Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)

Too, the maiden doesn’t want to function with a veiled face. (The New KJV uses the word “veil”, but the KJV says, “turn aside.”) The Hebrew word here is “atah”, which means to wrap. A veiled face denotes unfamiliarity in the company she’s in. She wants to function with an unveiled face, which denotes familiarity and intimacy. Do you still function with a veiled face when it comes to His presence? Does the veil still remain on your heart? (2 Cor. 3:15,16.)

The maiden is instructed to follow the sheep’s path to the shepherd’s tents. Here in is a great breakdown in the Church. The leadership places no value or emphaces on going to the shepherd’s tents for feeding, partly because it doesn’t feed there itself and partly because it doesn’t know the way. That classic line from John 14 comes to mind when Thomas asks, “Lord we do not know the where you are going, and how can we know the way?” Today modern shepherds are still making this statement. Modern shepherds seem to be saying to there flocks, “Tell me where you are going and I will lead you.” Many shepherds have bean reduced to mere politicians.

If you have never been to the shepherd’s tents it’s hard to know the way and it’s hard to place value on a place you’ve never been. But, maybe you’re a shepherd who has been there, but it has been so long you’ve forgotten the way. Here is a key, “follow the sheep’s path.” Not the goats’ path or the hogs’ trail, but the sheep’s path.

We have a natural tendency to want to emulate what we deem to be successful. We study the business practices of the wealthy; we take personality advice from the famous; we take dietary advice from skinny people who have never been fat. But if you want to be successful in the kingdom you must find the sheep’s path.

When it comes to spiritual tracking you need to be able to distinguish sheep tracks. If you’ve ever been around someone who is a true deer hunter it’s amazing what they can see. I can walk a path through the woods and spot a dear, if he is running over the top of me, but I have friends that can spot signs all over the place. They spot tracks on the trail, rub marks on the trees, droppings in the brush, even places where deer have fed on clover. They have trained themselves to follow signs. In the spirit you can also follow spiritual signs and you begin to easily recognize those who have been to the shepherd’s tents and those who haven’t. You recognize those who have fed there. As a pastor, you should want to feed your lambs beside the shepherd’s tents.

On the night of Jesus’ birth the heavenly host appeared to the shepherds in the fields. (Luke 2:13). They were told a savior had been born in the “city of David.” The shepherds came and found the child wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, just as the angel had said.

The bible says wise men also came and had accurately “tracked” this event and had deduced a king had been born and that He was worthy of worship. (Matt. 2:1). “When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great Joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped him. The shepherds “gawked”, the wise men worshipped. The shepherds heard a heavenly declaration; the wise men searched out a “hidden matter.” (Pro. 25:2.) Tracking can be a natural occurrence in the life of a believer when there is spiritual pursuit. Many professing believers have no spiritual pursuit and are discouraged by other believers and shepherds from obtaining one. Even though the scriptures teach otherwise, “Seek those things which are above,” (Col. 3:1.) and “Earnestly desire the best gifts.” ( 1 Cor. 12:31.) And Jesus saying, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7).

The wise men in their spiritual pursuit not only found what they were looking for, but they recognized it in its infancy. This represents a unique trait. Recognizing a work of God in its infancy; Nathaniel declared Jesus to be the Son of God on his first meeting. (John 1:49). He recognized Him early and followed Him. Elijah recognized rain was coming when the cloud looked like a man’s hand. (I Kings 18:44). Prophetic vision allows us to recognize a move of God in its infancy.

Abraham looked for a city “whose builder and maker is God.” He was persuaded of something he could not see. Spiritual insight and vision persuaded him it existed! Watching a video of the Fathers day service at Brownsville Assembly, Pensacola, Florida, in 1995 seemed unimpressive; but thank God Pastor Kilpatrick and evangelist Steve Hill recognized something different. Recognizing a move of God in its infancy is key when it comes to spiritual tracking. Zechariah 4:10 says, “For who has despised the day of small things?” Many times we find what we’re looking for but fail to recognize it when it’s in our grasp.

Lord, help our discernment, elevate our vision, help us to see signs along the trail you have left for us to see, let us not grow discouraged in our pursuit of you. Amen,

Pastor Rusty

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