April 19, 2005
The Voice of the Shepherd
John 10:1-5 - Most assuredly,
I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door,
but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To
him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he
calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he
brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep
follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means
follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know
the voice of strangers.
10:27 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow
Following our Lord requires that we know and hear His voice. It
is a distinct voice, unlike any other, and the very survival of
the sheep depends on them recognizing it as the true voice of
the Shepherd. Notice that it is His voice mentioned here, and
not His words, or what he says. Certainly what our Lord says is
essential, but we begin by
identifying that it is He who is communicating with us; that it
is indeed, His voice.
Recognition and familiarity
comes with spending time together. Friends who fellowship together
on a routine basis are readily able to recognize each others
voice immediately. The telephone rings, and even before the
caller says, ď It is ____Ē, we know who it is, merely by their voice.
Children, from the earliest stage of life recognize the motherís
voice, perhaps even from within the womb itself. And there are
many examples in nature where even the dumbest creatures are
able to survive because they recognize the voice of the mother
or father calling them to safety.
Recall the incident of the
lad Samuel, who was awakened by the voice of the Lord, yet he
wrongly assumed it was his master Eli. After a few times, Eli
directed him to listen for it was the indeed the Lord, and to
respond "Speak, for Your servant hears."
The lesson for us here is
that it does take time and exposure to recognize our Lordís
voice. Yet, from that point on, Samuel came to know the voice of
his Lord and God, and he ultimately proved faithful in carrying
out everything spoken to him.
There is also the account of Mary at the Master's tomb in John
20, which reads...
But Mary stood outside by the
tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked
into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one
at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of
Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you
She said to them,
"Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know
where they have laid Him."
Now when she had said
this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and
did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman,
why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?"
She, supposing Him
to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried
Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take
Jesus said to her,
She turned and said to Him,[a]
"Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).
the fact that it was only until our Lord spoke her name, did she
recognize immediately that it was Him. There was no doubt. Even
her grief could not mask the fact of His identity.
The question presents itself
to us then: Are we able to recognize the voice of our Shepherd
when He calls to us? Of all the voices in our world, both human
and otherwise, calling us to do this or do that, are we able to
discern the one voice that is calling us to freedom, to service,
and to spiritual vitality?
The Spirit of truth affirms
that God, the Logos, is communicating to us; yet we are
instructed to test all spirits, as the deceiver can also
communicate (see Eve in the garden). Jesus said the sheep would
know and hear His voice. A helpful principle regarding greater
revelation from God, is that He doesn't ever provide it apart
from Himself. Only as we venture deeper into His heart and
holiness through surrendering faith and obedience, will we start
to hear from him in the ways we all desire and need.
My own personal experience
is that His voice is deep, and still and that you know that it
is Him and no other. I wish I could explain it in words but I
cannot. Just as with a human being, the voice of our Lord is
distinct and recognizable. He speaks directly to the heart of
His friends, just as He promised when He left this earth.
Recall, that He said that it is better that He goes away. Yes,
the original twelve heard and knew His audible voice, but we too
can hear Him, deep down where spirit meets spirit, at the very
center of our being.
My friends, expect to hear
His voice. When you pray is it you who does most of the talking?
Be still! Be silent! After you ask Father a question, expect
that He will answer; What father wouldn't respond accordingly to
his beloved child?
But more importantly,
whatever He tells you to do, do it immediately.
"Speak, for Your servant hears." said the child
You will know if it is Him,
not only by what he says, but by His voice, which is unlike any
other. And please do not confuse this with some empty mysticism,
or psycho-spiritual experience involving inner voices, urges or
impulses. Like every pure and perfect thing the devil and his
world has their counterfeits.
This will only make sense to
those breathed on by the spirit. If you are not, then you will
hear many voices, and nothing will be discernible. Confusion
will result. You will become one of those religious crazies who
go around saying that God told them something that every child
of God knows He would never say.
The Lord's voice instills
peace and direction. It settles us, and chastens us at times. It
never ever confounds the truth of Scripture, because He inspired
every word and thought found there. If the voice directs you in
ways or concepts that defy the revealed Word, then it is a false
voice and to be rejected entirely. My sense is that, over time,
you will know that such voices are false, almost immediately.
Jesus promised this.
The evil one can do
impressions, but children born of the spirit will recognize his
Our Lordís voice is truth,
and power, and love; it is sharp and often cuts deep into the
place where idols sit proudly on a stolen throne. It fills us,
and sometimes consumes us. There are many places in the
Scriptures where mere mortals have been undone by the voice of
the Almighty. It is the only voice in the created universe that
truly matters. Let us be deaf to all others so that we may hear
Him, and recognize Him, and respond with trusting obedience and
Please pray for us here at Living-Walk, that we would
watch and see the Master at work, and understand what He would have
Your friend in Christ Jesus,