Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

The Shepherd's Voice

by Rebekah Shaffer
Head in hands and heart racing, there’s a ringing in your ears. Constantly changing guidelines and rivaling news reports, there’s unrest in the air. The many voices of governors and leaders, each speak in dissonance, continuously. From waking to sleeping the bombardment of information in the form of noise consumes our mental space. As a result, the sheer volume compromises our ability to discern the truth. The weary Christian feels mentally trapped in the weeds of social media, news and briefings. However, what if there was a way to bring clarity in the chaos, silence in the shouting, and rest for the run-down? Jesus, in the Gospels, invites us to focus on a powerful image.

The book of John, chapter 10, records these words of Jesus:

1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” … 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So, there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Notice first that there is only one Shepherd; all others are thieves and robbers. What is the
difference between a shepherd and a thief? The shepherd is caring for the sheep for the good
of the sheep while the thief is in it only for his own good. The shepherd enters through the
door and leads the sheep while the thief climbs over the wall and forcibly takes the sheep. One
scenario is peaceful and quiet while the other is chaotic and violent.

Notice next that the calling of the Shepherd is personal. Not only are they called by name, but
 He also calls them His own. A thief doesn’t typically know the name of his victim, because he cares only for himself. In stark contrast is the Good Shepherd who cares so deeply for the
sheep, His sheep, that He knows each by name and is willing to give His life for them.

Notice lastly that it is the voice of the Shepherd that the sheep listen to. Imagine how noisy it
would be with many animals, various hired hands, and other flocks nearby, yet when the
Shepherd speaks, the sheep listen. In all the noise, the sound of His voice stands out.

Herein lies a priceless lesson: chaos can only be calmed with one voice, the voice of the Savior.
It pierces through the thickest clamor and calls to every believer. Yet while His voice is the
answer, hearing Him is not passive on the part of the believer. We are called to daily spend
time with the Shepherd in order to intimately know His voice. Can you recognize a voice without hearing it repeatedly? Where do we hear His voice? His Word is His voice and
each time we open the Scriptures we are listening to our Shepherd. If you find yourself today struggling to quiet the noise, if you need peace in this chaos, turn to His Word. Listen to His voice and tune out all others who come unlawfully and who come to steal and destroy.
Moreover, when the Christian knows the Shepherd’s voice the benefits and blessings of being led by Him flow abundantly. David knew the importance of being led by the Lord. He illustrates this in Psalm 23:

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Notice that when believers follow the Shepherd, they find rest, refreshment and restoration. When given the choice of riots or rest, torment or refreshment, ruin or restoration, the decision would seem obvious. Yet so many forfeit the blessings of following the Shepherd by ignoring His voice. Whether it is ignored unintentionally or drowned out by outside noise, His voice has been unheard far too long. Jesus is calling, calling through His Word, for every believer to tune out the noise of this world and focus only on Him. It is the only way to walk through this weary world.

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