I am visiting my daughter who lives in rural Western Kentucky. My son-in-law just recently acquired four goats and one donkey from a friend. He has a huge meadow that is quite full of wild, uncultivated grass. He put the goats and donkey to pasture there. I am certain he does not know very much about goats, but he is learning that he will need to move the fence enclosures often.The goats crop the plants at ground level very quickly!
His goat “herd” quickly increased when the one he named “Mama” had twin “kids” about a week after he brought them home. And they are the cutest animal babies that I have seen for awhile. When Wade took me on his four wheeler across the meadow to see them, he put one kid in each of my arms and they rested under my hooded jacket while it began to rain. My heart just went out to those baby goats, and their sweet little mama who was grazing nearby. I thought, so what is the difference between Sheep and Goats! What is the spiritual analogy that we find in the scriptures, and what message does the Spirit whisper into my inner core about these babies and goats in general?
Many Christian know the parable of The Sheep and the Goats! It is found in Matthew 25: 31-46. In short, it is a parable about the Great Judgment Day when the King (Jesus) will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep are characterized as loving, caring, diligent “doers” of the Word as evidenced by what they “do” for the hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick, or the prisoners versus what the goats do NOT do for or to any of the above! By the end of the parable we know that the sheep will inherit Eternal Life while the goats will be cast into Everlasting Punishment! There is a distinct difference in these two animals, both of whom were utilized in Old Testament offerings!
We see in this parable the goat characterized as the unregenerate sinner who has never acknowledged his/her sin, repented, turned from that sin, and accepted the sacrifice provided by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ. A day cannot go by that we aren’t confronted by the World that the goats have created! It is a world of Humanism and Secularism, centered on gaining wealth and power over every other creature on earth. The “goats” lead the human parade down a street filled with nearly naked people, who are thirsty or hungry, but do not know what really satisfies. The goats are prisoners to their own addictions, dependent on a society that engineers their destruction instead of their peace and well-being. While the goats control, their only impulse is to fill their own bellies Their own needs! They will trample others to get at the food or whatever they want! The goats breed but they do not heed!
God did have a great purpose for his creation, the goats! The amazing story is found in Genesis 22: 1-18 where Abraham’s faith in God is tested and confirmed. Abraham led his “son of Promise” to the Mountain of Moriah, a three day journey from his home. Isaac was loaded with wood for a burnt offering, Abraham had the knife and fire in hand, and when they came to the place, Isaac was bound and placed on the stone altar. Just as Abraham was ready to offer his son, God “called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!…Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me!” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The Lord Will Provide.”
It was on Mount Moriah, many generations later that God did not spare His Only Son Jesus. Jesus head was caught in a crown of Thorns, just as the goat’s head had been in the day of Abraham. Just as Isaac was bound on the wood, Jesus was nailed on the Cross. But this Holy sacrifice was all sufficient for every “sheep” or “goat” in today’s world who will call on the name of the Lord! This is the blood that counts for everything! This blood makes all the difference to our life and peace! In the end, we are all goats until we come to the Savior! In the end, how we respond to God’s Provision in the Mount of Salvation determines where we will spend eternity.
Remember: as God’s sheep in this world filled with goats, we are to love them even as the Father loved us and gave Himself for us! Be a Doer!