Especially in the ancient Near East and in some places in America, sheep and goats are herded together. Not only are goats more unruly and rambunctious than sheep, but too many goats in the herd will often lead the sheep astray, away from the shepherd.
The Lord is our shepherd and we are His sheep. Unfortunately we have goats in our herd too. Many of the goats call themselves Christians as they graze and walk with the entire herd. But when it comes to truly following the Shepherd, they have their own philosophies, theologies, and religious practices. They constantly want to walk a path different from what the Shepherd has given us to follow.
As we look at the landscape of Christianity in the world, we see that we have a lot of goats in the flock. They really aren’t that hard to identify. The look differently; they sound differently; and they especially walk the faith differently. Yet, as a people, we seem to follow the goats more and more instead of the Shepherd. That which was wrong and sinful years ago is no longer wrong and sinful among the goats. Unfortunately, the goats are leading more and more sheep away from the voice of the shepherd.
When there are large numbers of goats among the sheep, the two often don’t feed or rest well together. Thus, the shepherd may have to separate them for grazing and for sleeping. During God’s judgment, the Good Shepherd will also separate the goats from the sheep putting the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. We will all be sheep or goats.