“...why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” (Song 1:7)
Jesus only has one TRUE church and flock. Who are these other flocks? Five times in scripture Jesus refers to believers in him as “my sheep.” Clearly there are “other sheep” out there that do not belong to Jesus – see John 10:26-28. The two main flocks that belong to our Lord and about whom he speaks are Israel and the Church. Someone is offering the Bride an alternative to Christ and to his rest and she can see through the tempting offer!
The lesson here is that the one who fails to actively seek after Christ will end up in the wrong flock with the wrong shepherd. The religions of this world have “ministers” who may in some cases even appear to be ministers of righteousness. (II Cor. 11:13-15) The cults, false religions, and liberal branches of Christendom have vast flocks – but they are not part of the flock of Jesus Christ! Any believer who fails to establish his personal walk with the Lord based upon the authority of Scripture is susceptible to turning aside after the wrong flocks and their leaders.
This dangerous tendency can be seen in Old Testament Israel when they strayed from God and began following idols. Israel was cursed with religious leaders who acted in the capacity of unfaithful shepherds. The entire chapter of Ezekiel 34 deserves further study where God pronounces judgment against the shepherds of Israel and promises his people a faithful Shepherd who will one day lead them into eternal rest. Contrasting this, the antichrist is called the “idol shepherd” in Zechariah 11:15 & 17. His vast flock will never find rest, but only eternal torment.
Another important lesson from this verse concerns staying the course. The Bride in this part of verse 7 is concerned about turning aside. This is exactly what the children of Israel did when they made the golden calf in Exodus 32:8. Deuteronomy 5:32 commands, “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Prayerfully meditate on the following verses that warn about the dangers of turning aside from God and his word to temptations of this world: Deut. 11:16; Joshua 23:6; I Sam. 8:3; & Psalm 101:3.
An excellent question to ask ourselves when tempted by the world and those things we know to be wrong is, “Why should I be as one that turneth aside?”