The Shepherd’s Voice

Sheep

In a recent Bible study on Psalms 23, Jennifer Rothschild pointed out some interesting facts she learned about sheep. She shared a video showing different people trying to call a herd of sheep but the sheep ignore them. However, when their shepherd calls them, they follow his commands. John 10:4 says, “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Whose voice do you listen to?

There are a lot of voices fighting for our attention. Social media and the nightly news are filled with loud, angry people battling for attention. They each have their own take on a situation and their own agenda. It can feel like we are being tugged in a million different directions. Each side begins to think they are in the right; therefore, everyone else must be in the wrong.

TrainHowever, the truth usually resides somewhere in the middle. Perspective has a lot to do with how we view situations. There is an illustration of this that I heard at a conference: There are three people standing together at the end of a tunnel. The pessimist only sees darkness. The optimist sees a light at the end of the tunnel. The realist sees an oncoming train. At the other end of the tunnel the train engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks. While the three people may stand and argue forever about the situation, in the end they may miss the point entirely.

God, like the train engineer has a totally different perspective. He sees all of eternity, not just one brief moment. His purpose is to make us more like Christ. He sent Jesus, Our Shepherd, and The Holy Spirit to lead us through life. Sometimes this means leading us beside still waters and to green pastures, and sometimes it is walking with us through the valleys (Psalm 23). The key is sticking to the path and following the shepherd’s voice. The enemy will try to distract us with all manner of arguments and try to lead us down different paths that seem easier or more prestigious, but they are dead ends. The voice of the Shepherd is the only one that can be trusted, the still small voice in the midst of the storm.

We can know His voice because it is always in alignment with God’s Word. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit inside us to help us recognize His voice. John 14:26 says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The Holy Spirit will remind us of the scripture so that we can discern what is truth and what is not.

So, when the voices of the world get too loud, spend time in the Word of God and prayer, and the voice of the Shepherd will show you the way to go. Like the songs say, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

Who do you listen to?

Today I have been working on a project with a supervisor who kept giving advice in an apparent effort to help. The result was actually the opposite. It caused me to drop below a standard because I was listening too much to the warnings and not enough to what my gut was telling me. I second-guessed myself into a hole.

I realized I was listening to the wrong voice. David faced a similar issue when he came upon Goliath taunting the army of Israel. There were all these voices saying they couldn’t win and that the enemy was too strong, and they had begun to despair. They were listening to the wrong voices. David came along and declared that the battle was God’s; therefore, they could and would win if they stood up and fought the enemy. He engaged the enemy and with God’s help, he won…end of story. He listened to the right voice, and he gained the victory.

We are constantly facing battles in our lives, and we have to make decisions on an almost daily basis. The enemy constantly whispers that we cannot succeed, or even more often that we should take a “safer” path following the world’s idea of logical and practical. God’s ways are often illogical or even crazy by the world’s standards, but they always work they way He intended.

If God tells you to “cast out into the deep,” then push off and ignore the voices that cry for following the “safer” path, sticking to the harbor and what you have always known. The only voice that matters is that of God as He whispers to us in the person of the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan for us for good and not for evil, so we can trust Him to lead us in the right direction. Listen to His voice and you too will have the victory.

So, who are you listening to today?