Hearing the Voice of God (Part 1): The Sheep and The Shepherd
Today, I am beginning a series on how to hear the voice of God and follow His direction for your life. These lessons will be culled from my upcoming book, HOW GOD SPEAKS TO YOU. I hope they bless you immensely and lead you to an increased knowledge of God and an encounter with him.
I will continue to pull pieces of the book and share them in these series and eventually inform you when the book is published. My greatest desire is that my readers and hearers would have a real experiential encounter with God. For I know that a genuine encounter with God will certainly change your life for good.
Today, let’s look at the powerful relationship between sheep and their shepherd and how God speaks to us.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
– John 10:27-28
In this scripture, Jesus is saying that we will hear his voice. He is saying that He will speak to us and we will know when He speaks and we will follow Him.
So how come everyone seems to be asking, “How can I know when and how God speaks to me?”
First, Jesus used the allegory of sheep and a shepherd. The sheep as we know are essentially dumb animals that do not learn well and are extremely difficult to train. They do not have good eyesight, nor do they hear well. They are very slow animals who cannot escape predators; they have no cover-up and no weapons for defense such as nails, sharp hooves, or compelling jaws.
Sheep have a natural tendency to stroll off and get lost. When sheep go astray, they are in great danger of being attacked, even killing themselves by drowning or falling off cliffs.
Furthermore, sheep are easily frightened and become easily confused. In fact, they have been known to plunge blindly off a cliff following one after another.
Shepherds in Bible times faced incredible dangers in caring for their sheep, putting their own lives at risk by battling wild animals such as wolves and lions who threatened the herd. David was just such a shepherd (1 Samuel 17:34–35). In order to be good shepherds, they had to be willing to lay down their lives for the sheep.
Jesus is The Shepherd, We Are Like Sheep
Jesus is our Shepherd and demonstrated it by giving His life for us. “
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
And we are like sheep. Isaiah 53:6a says that…
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, each one, to his own way” (AMP).
That’s exactly why we are complaining of not hearing from God. We are like sheep, often filled with our own ways and spiritually rebellious to our Shepherd. We like to do things our way and believe we can plan our lives ourselves. And that’s why we often wander off and get confused many times.
Nonetheless, our Shepherd is ever there, reaching out to us, calling us out and extending His hand of fellowship and guidance. As we learn to surrender our selfish ways to Him, we’ll find that He was actually always there, speaking, guiding, leading, only we were not paying attention.
God knows that like sheep, we have the tendency to want to do things our own ways. But He advises that we surrender to Him and follow His voice. Only then can we have the abundant life, peace and prosperity that we so chase after.
The Bible talks about training ourselves to Godliness. 1 Timothy 4:7 says,
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness” (ESV).
Training talks about responsibility. Just as it takes a whole lot of discipline for an athlete to train to perform or compete for perishing crowns, so it is required that we train ourselves towards Godliness.
Spending time in God’s presence is demanding because the flesh hates it. There are social media, cable TV shows, and world news, coupled with demanding family and business issues. There’s not much time left except Sundays when we go to church, spend one hour, sing nice songs, shout in the Holy Ghost and, that’s it.
However, that’s not going to get us to learn personal dealings of God in our lives.
Just like the shepherd and his flock, the sheep learns the voice of the Shepherd by spending long hours and days with the shepherd.
As they do, they get to know each other very well. As they continue spending days and months together, the flock starts recognizing the voice of the shepherd.
If you are going to hear God’s voice, then you’ll need to train yourself to spend time in His presence alone. You’ll need to wake up to read the Bible, meditate, pray in the spirit and, sometimes, just stay quiet in His presence. It is only through such consistent practice of fellowship that your heart will begin to understand when the LORD is speaking to you and when your mind, intellect, and devil are playing games with you.
Our Shepherd provides us direction and leads us in paths that are safe. Learn to surrender your ways to Him and expect Him to provide you with direction regarding your life issues.
See you again in part 2