ODJ: The Shepherd’s Voice

October 25, 2016 

READ: John 10:1-16 

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice (v.4).

As a pastor, I’ve seen this happen on several occasions during a service: a mother hears a faint cry from beyond the sanctuary, gets up, walks toward the rear of the room, and immediately goes to the nursery where her child is being cared for. Without anyone telling her, she knew that it was her baby who cried out and she needed to go and relieve the childcare volunteer by providing care for her precious child. Studies have shown that mothers are especially attuned to the cries of their own children and can often identify their kid’s cries from those of other children with 100 percent accuracy!

John 10:4 describes a similar principle, but in reverse: Jesus said, “After [a shepherd] has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of [the sheep], and they follow him because they know his voice.” They recognize that the voice isn’t that of a stranger. It’s the very sound of their helper and protector, so they willingly follow when they hear it (v.5). Like a mother to her child, we as Jesus’ followers can be uniquely attuned to the sound of His voice in our lives—able to discern it over the other voices and influences we encounter. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me” (v.14).

The question is, how do we sharpen this sense so that we can distinguish the Lord’s voice clearly over all the others around us? There are many ways we can do this, but probably none more valuable than spending time in Scripture. John 1:1 tells us that the Word is God and is with God, and so as we know the Word better, we’re in essence getting to know God Himself. Then, much like a mother with her baby, we’ll spring into action whenever we hear His call!

—Peter Chin

365-day plan: Acts 11:1-18

Read 1 Samuel 3:1-10 for the story of a young boy who learned to hear and respond to God’s voice. 
Have you ever had an experience where you believe God spoke to you? What are some other ways you can sharpen your ability to discern the voice of God in your life?