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Sometimes God uses real life experiences to speak to us. It works like this: first, we experience something in our day-to-day life. Then, in the midst of it, God breaks in and shows us a spiritual truth related to what we are experiencing.
God did that to me on Good Friday. He used a dog bite to speak to me about Sheep Bite. (Sheep bite is a term used to describe when the people of God attack their God-appointed leaders because of their immaturity.) Let me start by describing my experience, then I will tell you what the Lord showed me from it.
It was early morning and I'd just gotten up. I have two large German Shepherd dogs. As usual, they demanded my attention as soon as I climbed out of bed. My dogs require things like a morning greeting, being taken outside to do their "doggie business" and being fed breakfast. It is my normal routine to take care of the dogs when I get up.
However morning was a bit different, as one of them was irritable and snapped unreasonably at the other. The other seemed irritable too, and within seconds they were in a full fight. My dogs "play fight" at times, especially when they are exited. But this was not play, it was ferocious. I was concerned they would hurt each other, so I stepped in to separate them.
When you have two healthy adult male dogs, you have the occasional fights (sort of like when you have two children). I probably have to step in and separate them about 2 to 3 times a year. I have done this many times in the past and never had a problem doing so. But this time they strongly did not want to separate.
I held one dog by the collar with my left hand, and pulled the other dog off of him with my right hand. The dog I was pulling away broke free and lunged at the first dog, trying to bite his neck. But he missed and got my left wrist, just below the band of my wristwatch.
I felt this excruciating pain as two of his fang-like teeth pierced my skin. It felt like I was being stabbed. I screamed in pain and let go of both dogs. They both reared up and had a nasty snarling fight. I was disabled for a minute or two as I looked at my wrist. There were two puncture wounds about 1/4 inch long and 3/8 inch apart, and they were bleeding profusely. (That is roughly 1.5 cm long and 2 cm apart for those of you who think in metric.)
I did not think about it at that moment, but those two punctures were caused by two adjacent fang-like teeth on the top of one side of his mouth. He has two more on the other side and two big fangs on the bottom. He had accidentally caught me with one side of the top of his mouth as he went after the other dog. If he'd been trying to bite me then I would have six punctures on my wrist instead of two, and I would be in much worse condition.
I did not think about that at that moment. The only thing I could think about was how much it hurt and how much blood was coming out. I forgot dogs for a second and grabbed a Kleenex and began to apply pressure. The bite was deep, with the longer of the two fangs piercing almost an inch (or 2.5 cm) deep into my skin. That is why it was bleeding so much.
My dogs were still going at each other with a lot of intensity. Neither realized that I'd been hurt, and both were hostilely intent on the other. I realized that I still had to separate them, or they'd hurt each other. I began yelling "No" and "sit." I finally was able to grab the more aggressive one's collar from behind with my good hand, and pull him off the other one. The other dog tried to lunge at him, and I used my knee against his chest to separate them. I finally got them both in a "sit," about four feet apart from each other. I told them to "stay" and did not release them for about ten minutes so that they'd clam down. Each time either dog would start to get up, I'd correct him immediately, before he had a chance to get near the other dog.
At that moment, I felt angry at both dogs, especially at the one who bit me. I also felt a lot of pain. I knew that the dog never intended to hurt me, but I was hurt none the less. I kept applying pressure to the bloody Kleenex and hoped the bleeding would totally stop.
After the dogs had calmed down, I took them outside to relieve their bladders. They seemed fine with each other and interacted the same way they always do, just as if there had never been a fight. But there had been a fight and I had a painful injury on my left wrist to prove it.
That injury happened at 5:30 AM and the doctor's office doesn't open until 9:30. I knew I would have to get antibiotics because of the dog bite and I figured I might need a stitch or two on the deeper puncture wound. Three hours later, as I wrote part of this teaching, it still hurt a lot and it was still bleeding a little.
That was the experience that I had. It isn't the type of thing where you would expect God to speak to you--but He did. He started speaking to me as I took the dogs outside to relieve their bladders, and He kept doing so for several hours afterwards.
The first thing He said to me was, "Sheep bite hurts, doesn't it?"
"Lord," I replied, "this is a dog bite."
"Yes, I know. But just like a dog bite hurts in the natural, even after the trauma is all over, so a sheep bite hurts in the spirit." Then the Lord began to show me several things about it.
I am going to share some of those things with you because God showed me now people moving in the prophetic can be effected by sheep bite, so it may be relevant to you.
I had always thought that sheep bite (believers hurting their leaders) was usually directed against a pastor or a ministry leader. But the Lord pointed out that just like my dogs bit each other, the "sheep" in Jesus' flock can (and do) impose harm on each other. The "sheep" will also (at times) bite non-leaders who are ministering to them.
In fact, the Lord told me that some of the people in the prophetic-school have been bitten when they stepped out in faith to prophesy to other believers. Those type of bites can hinder a person's ability to grow in the prophetic. If that happened to you, the Lord wants to break you free from the effect of sheep bite, and He wants to set you back on course. He wants you to keep growing with Him in the prophetic.
Here are some of the things the Lord showed me by drawing spiritual parallels from my natural experience.
My dogs were fighting with each other. Neither of them had an issue with me, but I had to step in to keep them from hurting each other. When I stepped in, I was incidentally injured by one of the ones who I was trying to help.
Sheep bite is often like that. A person is being hurt by the enemy of their souls and a defensive mechanism in them can make them strike out at the people around them. Sometimes the enemy uses conflict with another "sheep," and sometimes he uses other things. But the "sheep" who bite are usually in some type of conflict--internally or with another person. Most of the time that they bite you, their problem is not with you. But when you get too close, you can get the full blunt of their fury or retaliation.
The sheep who bites you is not your enemy. In fact, they are being manipulated by a mutual enemy that you both share--the devil. They may be temporally disoriented and confused, they may be reacting to spiritual forces, and they may not be thinking straight.
Even if they did not want to hurt you, their attack still hurts. It doesn't just hurt at the moment of the attack, it continues to hurt afterwards, and it takes time to heal.
A prophetic person can be "shut down" if someone responds with a hostile reaction to word that they give. Perhaps they shared a word with a person and that person got mad at them. (It doesn't really matter if they are rejecting a God word or if they accidentally made a mistake in their word...hostile reactions can make a person feel leery about prophesying.)
Has that ever happened to you? Perhaps they snapped at you, or maybe they complained about you to someone else. Or maybe they simply stopped speaking to you. What that happens, it hurts! The pain of it can shut you down the next time that God asks you to speak on His behalf. You may feel nervous (or even "afraid") to share any other messages that God gives you with another person.
In my case, I had this bleeding and painful bite on my left wrist. I needed to go upstairs and type a bunch of things on my computer. But because of the location of my injury, it really hurt to type. The dog bite had nothing to do with my typing on the computer, but the nature of the injury still effected my ability to do my work.
It is the same in the spirit. When another believer attacks you in one area, it can effect your ability to function efficiently in other areas in your faith. Perhaps you were "bit" because you prayed for someone who was emotionally in a great deal pain and they lashed out at you. You may not have prophesied a single word to them, but you may still feel cautious/leery the next time you to go prophesy to someone else. If you are not confident in your ability to prophesy, you might decide not to take the "risk" and share what you heard. You may have never had someone be upset with a word you have given, but you feel more vulnerable because you have been attacked in another area, and that somehow makes you feel "shy" about prophesying.
My dog did not understand that he had hurt me. He approached me shortly after the incident, wanting to be petted. Of course, I was mad at him for biting me and did not want to pet him, so I glared at him instead of petting him. He immediately became very insecure and troubled, and could not figure out why I did not want to return his affection. He tried to lick my hand, and I had to resist the urge to pull it away from him. A few minute later, I started to pet him. He was really troubled by my initial unfriendly reaction to him and became very tentative towards me, and it took a long time before he felt reassured and comfortable again.
When the "sheep" at the church inadvertently bite you, they often don't understand how you were affected by their action. In fact, they may not even be aware that they hurt you. If you treat them differently than you usually treat them, they will be troubled and will not be able to understand why.
Let me give you an example from when I prophesied to someone. Actually, I prophesied to her husband and she was upset about a portion of the word. God was speaking to him about how he spent the worship part of the service thinking about his upcoming tasks, and analyzing his problems, etc. In short, his mind was on everything but the One who he was worshipping. God wanted him to mentally divorce himself from the distractions of the day during corporate worship and fully engage his attention on God.
She listened to the tape of his prophesy, heard the word "divorce" and went ballistic. Even though there was nothing in the wording that should give her a wrong impression, she decided that I was prophesying that her husband should divorce her. That worried her because she and her husband had a lot of tensions in their marriage.
The next Sunday at church, she confronted me about that. She also complained about me to a lot of other people. I hadn't done anything wrong in the word that I gave to her husband, but she made a big deal about it as though I had. Two months later she was going through a crisis in her life. She approached me and asked me to prophecy to her, saying that she really needed to hear from God.
As she stood in front of me, I found myself remembering her reaction to her husband's word. I thought to myself, "Come on, does she really expect me to prophesy to you after what she did with my last word? What will she do to me if I give her another one?"
But the truth of the situation was that she had lashed out at me because she was in pain from her troubled marriage. She simply reacted at the time and was not even aware that she'd attacked me. The Lord told me to give her a word, so I did. She went away feeling comforted and ministered to. If I had refused to minister to her, she would have gone away feeling abused and not understanding why I wouldn't prophesy to her.
The person who does the biting doesn't usually realize that they hurt you. They may come to you at some future date for ministry. If they do, then the Lord wants you to rise above the hurt and minister to them in His love.
People who don't work much with dogs may not know this, but there is an important rule about dog bites. If you get a dog bite that breaks the skin, you need to take antibiotics. There are some really nasty bacteria that live and breed in a dogs mouth. (That is true of sheep, by the way, and of many other mammals).
If you don't get on antibiotics, the odds are that you will get a nasty infection.
In my case, I saw a doctor about six hours after the bite, and it was already red and puffy, showing the early signs of infection. He put a bandage over it. It took 1.5 hours to get my antibiotics from the pharmacy, and by then, the red of the infection had spread to a little of the skin next to the bandage. Infection is nasty and can spread quickly.
I started taking the antibiotic, and 24 hours later, no more red showed outside of the bandage area. But I can't stop taking the antibiotics just because the symptoms went away. I have to complete the course of the treatment. I have to keep taking them for 7 days so that the infection doesn't return after it is wiped out.
The most dangerous "bacteria" of the spirit world is unforgiveness. It can breed "infections" of offense, bitterness and resentment. When someone "bites" us, we need to get it treated right away, before the bad stuff has a chance to grow in us.
There are two important aspects to this treatment: one is to choose to release forgiveness and the second is to go to the Lord for healing. The presence of God can wash over you and release a healing so that it won't be any sort of mental or emotional struggle to forgive.
The simple truth is that, at times, sheep will bite us. The Lord doesn't want us go get way-laid by those inevitable sheep bites. Instead, He wants us to center ourselves in Him, to keep our focus on Him instead of on the one who hurt us. God wants us to rise above it with His help; to keep on maturing in Him and growing in our prophetic gifting.