John 10:1-6, The Message
1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you, know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice.”
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”
6 “Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about.“
What joy can be found in our Shepherd’s care, and to hear his voice. Nothing really can match this wonder. We follow as he leads. The voice is an integral part of this passage and the foundation of authentic discipleship. You really can’t walk with him unless you hear him. We belong to him. We’re his flock that he keeps and provides for.
He knows our name! That’s the intimacy found in these verses. We’re never forgotten and he will never overlook us. To think otherwise is slander and an attack on his present-day ministry. Jesus is our good shepherd. He always will be.
“Intimacy with God comes in whispers, not shouts.”
He sometimes whispers, and this world can’t hear him. To be perfectly honest, my ‘busyness’ silences him. I suppose that the real issue isn’t with him, but with myself.
“And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:12
The gentle whisper to a man afraid. This fits the Father’s m.o. He doesn’t speak through a windstorm, earthquake, or fire. He chooses to speak very quietly, and that’s a problem for me. In the original Hebrew, the word for “whisper” can be translated as calm, silence, or something gentle. He speaks this way if only we shut up for a little while.
If we are to recognize God’s voice, we must belong to Him. We hear His voice when we spend time in Bible study and quiet contemplation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leadership in our lives(.
(Perhaps Psalm 23 should be brought in at this point?)
The flock hears the shepherd, and it’s that voice that breaks through our cluttered-up life. We can hear, and it’s that communication that encourages us to walk through life—one day at a time. Just today. That’s all you must do.
There are so many other voices. You must ignore them.
So many are speaking, and so many want us to hear and follow them. But in reality, they want us to leave the Shepherd and his flock behind.
But we can’t allow this, we must learn to listen to him alone.
(Art by Eugène Burnard)