Sunday, December 5, 2010

“My sheep know My voice. . .”

I’d always been a little confused by this verse. How would I know God’s voice if I’d never heard it before? How could I be sure that the voice I thought was God’s wasn’t really my own telling me what I thought I wanted to hear?

All of this became very clear a few weeks ago. I was returning to Texas after having been at my mom’s over the holidays. My husband couldn’t travel with us, so it had been just him and Max. Which is why Max was caught off guard when, after two weeks, we came home late at night, making a lot of noise and causing quite a stir in the dark, silent house.

Max ran to the door, barking up a storm, his hair standing on end.

“Max!” I yelled to be heard over all of his barking. “It’s Momma, Maxie!”

Max fell silent, his harsh breathing loud in the suddenly quiet room.

My husband flicked on the light. “Holy smokes! Didn’t he recognize you?”

I laughed, “No, but I think he recognized my voice.”

The moment Max caught sight of me, he launched himself across the room, jumping up on my leg, his little body shaking with excitement.

“Okay, he’s happy to see me,” I said, struggling to hold him, but still managing to keep him from licking my face off.

And that’s when it occurred to me. Even with the lights off and two weeks of separation between us, Max loved me and was close enough to me to recognize my voice after just a few simple words. He didn’t need to see to know it was me.

Perhaps the reason we question whether or not we can hear God’s voice is that we haven’t spent the time really getting to know Him. Surely, if we had, we, too, could say with confidence, “We are His sheep, and we know His voice. . .”

John 10:1-10 (New International Version)

The Shepherd and His Flock

1"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." 6Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


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