TO CHEW ON: "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." John 10:4
"If Christians do not know when God is speaking they are in trouble at the heart of their Christian lives," says Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God (Workbook p. 90).
In our passage today Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd leading a flock. The members of His flock, He assures the disciples, know His voice.
The Bible says a lot about God's voice — hearing it, recognizing it, responding to it. If we count ourselves members of His flock, we do well to study what the Bible says about these things, to make sure we do recognize that it's His voice we're hearing. From a brief (and incomplete) study, here are some distinguishing things about God's voice:
1. He first comes to you and me as a guest. Jesus asks ("if anyone hears My voice") to be given admittance to our lives (Revelation 3:20).
2. His voice is personal
- He knows your name and my name, and what drives us (Acts 9:3-5).
- His call is our opportunity to acknowledge Him and what He is to us (John 20:16).
- Listening to His voice becomes the key to our destiny, as Saul/Paul discovered - Acts 22:14.
3. His voice speaks words of life to our death (Luke 8:52-54; John 5:25).
4. His voice speaks truth (John 18:37).
5. His voice comes with probing questions - "What do you want me to do for you?" He asked the blind men (Matthew 20:32).
6. His voice may come to us in new tones. John heard it as a trumpet and as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:10,15).
7. It is, above all, a loved, welcome, joy-inspiring voice (Song of Songs 2:8; John 3:29). We respond to it any time we hear it, even letting it awake us from sleep (Song of Songs 5:2).
8. It is a voice that we come to recognize as reliable, trustworthy, and safe to follow (John 10:4,16,27).
I ask myself, do I know God's voice in these ways? When He speaks, do I respond with quick obedience?
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to always recognize Your voice and to be a fruitful hearer (Luke 8:15). Amen.
MORE: Respond Immediately
**************"When God spoke to Moses, what Moses did next was crucial. After Jesus spoke to the disciples, what they did next was paramount. What you do immediately after the Spirit of God speaks to you through His Word is critical. Our problem is that when the Spirit of God speaks to us, we want to debate. Moses engaged in a long discussion with God (see Exodus 3:11-4:13), and it limited him for the rest of his life. After that discussion Moses had to speak to the people through His brother Aaron (see Exodus 4:14-16).Regularly review what you sense God has been saying to you. If God speaks and you hear but do not respond, a time could come when you do not hear His voice. Disobedience can lead to a "famine of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11-12). - Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God Workbook, p. 96.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.