Listen to His Voice – Week of May 9, 2022
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
Babies can recognize their mother’s voice while they’re still in the womb, even though it’s a muffled voice they hear. When they are born, her voice will cause a baby to turn its head or soothe their cry. It’s remarkable. It’s miraculous. Even when they don’t understand language and words, they understand the sound and tones of the voice they know so well.
Do you know anything about sheep? While adorable, they’re not the brightest animals. It’s no small job for a shepherd to keep each sheep safe. They wander. They eat things they shouldn’t. They don’t pay attention to their surroundings which can put them in danger of falls, injury, or attacks. They’re easily identified as high maintenance. The shepherd truly has a 24/7 job to keep them out of harm’s way. His tools are simple. He watches with his eyes and listens carefully for their bleating cries. He uses his rod, his staff, to guide and prod the sheep to safety and to places with food and water. He also uses it to protect the sheep from any would be attackers. The shepherd also uses his voice to call the sheep closer and to provide the reassuring sound of his voice nearby.
Sound familiar? It’s no surprise that the Bible calls Jesus the Good Shepherd and refers to us as sheep. Let’s start with us. Aren’t we, like sheep, so prone to get off track in so many ways? We set a goal of reading our devotion or Bible study each day. We work at having a more positive attitude no matter what comes our way. We think about that one sin that nags at us. We want so badly to avoid it and yet there it is, once again. We get discouraged, anxious, worrisome, impatient, and on and on.
And then we hear it—the voice of our Good Shepherd. It may not be an audible voice but it’s there. Jesus, our Shepherd gently calls us to him in the Word. His Word is like the shepherd’s rod, reminding us when we stray in sin. We hear the patient voice of Jesus reminding us that he loves us, he forgives us, he is watching over us, and he is with us no matter what challenges come our way. It’s his desire that we are close to him each and every day, listening to his Word and eagerly going to him in our prayers.
Like the youngest of children, turn your head toward the Shepherd’s voice. Hear him clearly and regularly through his Word so that you are strengthened for each day. Trust in him to be with you and rest in the joy of knowing how dearly he loves you.
Jesus, shepherd of the sheep, who your Father’s flock does keep,
Safe we wake and safe we sleep, guarded still by you.
In your promise firm we stand, none can take us from your hand;
Speak—we hear—at your command, we will follow you.
Father, draw us to you Son; we with joy will follow on
Till the work of grace is done, there to live with you. Amen
CW21 551 /CW93 436