When is the last time you heard from God? Has it been lately? Would you recognize His voice if He did speak to you? Jesus intimated that we could and should know his voice. In the tenth chapter of book of John, Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd and said we are his sheep. He then said, “the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:3-5, 27).
Jesus said his sheep listen to his voice and follow him. He contrasts his voice with the voice of a stranger. There are truly a lot of strange voices in the world today. Through media, social media, and the advice of others, we often hear voices that are distracting or unhelpful. Jesus believed the voice of a stranger ultimately was from the enemy Satan who seeks to lead people away from God’s purpose and plan. The voice of the stranger constantly whispers to us — tempting us, assaulting us, distracting us, and discouraging us.
Do you think that you listen to the voice of the stranger more often than you do the voice of the Shepherd? It is so important that we learn to discern the voice of our Shepherd and the truth of our God. If we do not know the voice of Christ, then we will continually be deceived by the wrong voices inside of our head.
Is anyone out there tired of listening to the voice of the stranger? Are you tired of falling for the lies of the enemy? Do you long to be led by the voice of your shepherd?
I once read a story of a man who was visiting in the Middle East. His group was out in the wilderness when they happened upon a shepherd at a watering hole with his sheep. Soon a second shepherd arrived with his flock of sheep at the watering hole. As he walked up to the hole, the second shepherd’s sheep began to mix in with the first shepherd’s sheep. The man who was watching began to feel anxious wondering how the two shepherds would ever be able to separate their sheep. How would they even know whose sheep belonged to who? The shepherds did not seem to share his concern though. Eventually, the first shepherd began to walk off away from the watering hole. As he did he began to call aloud to the sheep. Half of the sheep began to walk away and follow the shepherd. They were his sheep that followed him. How did they know to follow him? They recognized his voice when he called them. The sheep would not follow the voice of a stranger. They were trained to know to follow only the voice of their shepherd.
We must learn the voice of our Shepherd. I have missed him often, but I also know many times he has spoken to my heart and mind. I have had moments of great sensitivity to the Lord where I felt his voice and his will was clear. God can speak through a variety of means — circumstances, nature, and people.
Above all, we know the Lord has spoken in and through the scriptures. If I never spend time in his word, then I will struggle learning to hear the voice of the Shepherd. Also, I must spend time with the Lord in prayer which also makes one more aware of his voice and presence. Do you want to know the Shepherd’s voice? Seek to spend time with Him in His word and in his presence in prayer. And that’s Word!
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at email@example.com or 912-634-2960.