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Sheep Walking In Circles: Biblical Meaning

What is the biblical meaning of sheep walking in circles?


Sheep are special animals with profound significance in the Bible.

The gentle and obedient animal portrays the relationship between God and His people.

Sheep are meant to follow the shepherd, who leads them to pastures and water for nourishment and vitality. However, when the sheep walk in circles instead of in a particular direction, there is a problem.

Many have related the strange act of sheep walking in a circle to one of the symptoms of listeriosis.

This infection causes facial paralysis and affects the animal’s coordination. But as believers, we understand that the spiritual controls the physical, and God speaks to us in different and often unconventional ways.

Suppose you have seen a sheep walking in circles for a long time or watched a clip online of the same phenomenon and are wondering about the spiritual implications.

In that case, this article will discuss the significance of sheep in the Bible and the meaning of sheep walking in circles.

Sheep symbolism in the Biblewhat does the bible say about sheep walking in circles

The sheep stands out among all the animals named in the Bible because of its significant roles and meanings.

Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God, who was slain for the cleansing of our sins.

Sheep were also used in the Old Testament for several sacrifices, including the Passover sacrifice, atonement, etc.

The Bible also mentions the significance of the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. 

But when we get to the New Testament, the Bible reveals a unique symbolism of the sheep and its relationship with Jesus Christ.

According to the scriptures, believers or Christ’s disciples are sheep, and Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd.

Jesus came to die for His sheep. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11)animals walking in circles in the bible

In John 10:14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, obey His Word, and follow His instructions are His sheep. 

A sheep builds an intimate relationship with the shepherd based on daily interactions.

As believers, we know Jesus better.

We recognize His face and know His voice because we speak to Him daily through prayers and studying His Word.

He, too, speaks to us constantly, but only if we do His will consistently. 

Psalm 23 illustrates the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd.

The shepherd leads the sheep to the green pastures and waters, talking about spiritual and physical nourishment and sustenance.sheep circle bible

The shepherd leads the sheep in the paths of righteousness, guides it through the valley of the shadow of death, and corrects it with his rod.

As Christ’s sheep, we are meant to walk straight, not in circles. God has leveled the mountains for our sake; He has made crooked paths smooth and straight, so we have no business going round and round in circles.

It is a waste of investment and a sign of disobedience.

Biblical meanings of sheep walking in circles:

The spirit of rebellionWhat is the biblical meaning of sheep walking in circles

According to the Bible, rebellion can lead one to walk in circles.

When God delivered His sheep [the children of Israel] from the shackles of slavery in Egypt, His aim was to take them to the Promised Land, where their souls would find rest and peace after hundreds of years of slavery. 

But, a few days into this glorious exodus, God’s people started misbehaving.

They began complaining at the slightest challenge, grumbling and murmuring.

They even said they preferred staying in Egypt, where they ate onions and cucumbers, to being free people(Numbers 11:5-6).

They also made a graven image for themselves and worshiped it (Exodus 32:1–4).

All these angered God, and they journeyed across the wilderness, which was supposed to last a few days but took them forty years. 

Rebellion blinded the eyes of their minds from seeing God’s graciousness and kindness.

They forgot all the miracles God did to deliver them from the hands of Pharaoh and their enslavers.

They lost sight of the future because of temporary pleasure and comfort. Well, this made them remain in the wilderness, and many lost their lives in the process. 

God has a plan for you.

He wants to lead you to higher levels. However, the journey to the top requires more effort.

Walking is easier and less stressful compared to climbing a mountain. But those who successfully reach the zenith of a mountain enjoy the reassures there.

Rebellion stops you from going up. Instead, it keeps you on the ground and makes you go around the same mountain you were supposed to climb. 

The punishment for disobediencesheep walking in circles spiritual meaning

A great reward awaits the sheep that obey and follow the shepherd.

They avoid being stricken by the shepherd’s rod and enjoy cleaner water and fresher grasses.

This is because obedience makes your journey faster. 

The Bible says, “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6). A straight path talks about progress and headway.

It means you are not stagnated. However, a crooked path means a lack of progress. But to enjoy a straight path God prepares, you must obey Him.

You must follow His instructions even when it does not sound logical. 

The danger of disobedience is you risk being punished or judged by God.

It’s better for a human being like you to afflict you because you can seek a solution from a higher authority. However, when God punishes you, who can you run to, knowing that God is the King of kings and the sovereign God. 

One of His punishments for disobedience is making you walk in circles.

He stops you from progressing to your Promised Land to teach you a lesson.

For example, God can make a proud person walk in a circle until they learn humility. The children of Israel were stubborn and rebellious.

They were chronic complainers and ungrateful. That attitude cannot sustain them in the Promised Land because they will not see God’s blessings even if they are flowing.

They will still complain and expect to be spoon-fed.

That is why God made them walk in circles in the wilderness to teach them some lessons.

Lack of progresssheep walking in circles meaning bible

God’s children or sheep are supposed to express massive progress, even above unbelievers, because we are the elect. God has given us special grace to accelerate progress and breakthroughs.

The Bible says, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).

This means that we experience daily progress because God is our shepherd, and we are His sheep.

So, it is an anomaly if we do not go straight but walk in circles. 

What can hinder our progress and make us walk in circles is sin and stubbornness.

A sheep loses its way the moment it stops listening to the shepherd.

He leads itself but goes into destruction because it does not have the skill and wisdom to navigate its way to success. 

A believer who wants to progress in life must stay glued to the shepherd.

He must stop when the shepherd stops and walks when he walks.

He must answer when the shepherd calls and obey when he gives an instruction.

These are simple but profound things that lead to success.

A sign of living in the wildernessanimals walking in circles bible

A wilderness is a dry land. It lacks water and suffers daily from the heat of the scorching sun.

It is inhabitable and cannot hardly support life, whether plant or animal.

Wilderness are meant to be crossed, not inhabited.

There is nothing wrong with having a wilderness experience. However, remaining in the wilderness is a problem. 

As sheep, following the master to greener pastures, we will pass through the wilderness. However, we must never remain there. Walking in circles as a sheep is choosing to remain in the wilderness.

A sheep that walks in circles does not see the shepherd or other sheep ahead. It only sees its footprints. animals walking in circles bible verse

Remaining in the wilderness leads to starvation, dehydration, and death.

This symbolizes spiritual malnutrition and death.

Those who decided to stop trusting in God because of temporary hardship and seek alternative routes to success will definitely go around in circles.

Their problems might not be solved.

They might not find their way again.

So, they get stuck in the wilderness, losing God and themselves. 

A sign of fearflock of sheep walking in circle bible

Sheep walking in circles is also a sign of fear.

When the children were close to the Promised Land, Moses sent out some men to spy on it and bring reports.

Ten out of the twelve spies brought evil reports, and two brought good reports (Numbers 13:32).

What actually influenced that bad report was fear.

The ten spies saw men like giants.

They confessed they were like grasshoppers before them.

They ignored the fertile lands and fruitful trees in the land but focused on the sizes of the inhabitants. That was a mentality influenced by walking in circles. 

The Israelites had spent years walking in circles to the point that it had become their reality.

So, doing anything contrary to walking aimlessly was seen as an insurmountable mountain.

They had lost touch with God’s power and lost His spirit that gives strength. They preferred walking in circles in the wilderness rather than fighting for what God had promised them.

This is a lazy mindset, and many believers practice it today.

We have embraced procrastination as a part of our life.

We ignore the power of God in us and push aside things we ought to do with urgency.

We love our comfort zones even though they are the worst place to be.

The root cause is fear.

We can simply overcome it by asking for God’s Spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 

A lost soul – Matthew 18:12–14sheep walking in circles in the bible

A sheep walking in circles is a lost sheep. To be lost means to be detached from the flock or fold.

It means to be disconnected from the shepherd. It means to lose one’s way and wander in the wilderness. It means to have left God’s sight and be backslidden.

As Jesus’ sheep, we are meant to be among fellow believers.

We are meant to support each other in times of trouble.

We are supposed to rejoice, celebrate, and mourn together.

We are supposed to offer ourselves encouragement, study God’s Word, and offer prayers of agreement. However, we become lost and lonely when we leave to fold.

We become susceptible to attacks of the enemy whose aim is only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

The Great Shepherd leads us, His sheep, through the valley of the shadow of death.

His presence keeps evil far away from us. However, being alone or walking in circles keeps us open to attack and death. However, there’s hope for the lost sheep walking in circles. Jesus said in the Parable of the Lost Sheep that He would leave the ninety-nine sheep to look for the lost ones. 

Jesus is the cure to the problem of walking in circles.sheeps walking in circles bible verse

He is ready to go all out for us and deliver us from troubles, even those we have put upon ourselves by disobedience, rebellion, and sin.

He said in Matthew 15:24, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

He came to die for our sins so we will be saved from oppression, stagnancy, and sickness. However, only those who are willing to hear His voice and accept His saving grace will receive His gift of salvation and have eternal life (Matthew 25:32-34, John 10:7)


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