Day 4 - The Voice of the Shepherd

Day 4 - The Voice of the Shepherd

Written by: Pat Hardin
SCRIPTURE
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27, ESV)

DEVOTIONAL
This is an interesting verse that means much more than it appears at first glance. Jesus refers to us, His followers, as sheep. We know that sheep are dumb, smelly, and tend to wander off when given the slightest opportunity. Sounds like a lot of people I know, including me! How about you? The word Jesus uses for “hear” means to listen intently, to understand, and to obey what is discerned. That affects the meaning of this verse profoundly, especially when you consider what Jesus means when He says, “I know them.”

The word in the ancient Greek is “ginosko” and in this instance it means to know   and intimately. Jesus is informing us that He has always known us, that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and that He is with us through thick and thin. This is why we follow Him. Perhaps you are wondering what degree of following is indicated by this verse? The type of following that was demonstrated by the twelve apostles, not the type indicated by the crowds that were following Jesus to hear His preaching or to attend His healing services. There were thousands who participated in the Sermon on the Mount, the different miraculous feedings, and the casting out of demons. However, there were only twelve who were with Jesus every day and who lived with Him during His time of ministry on earth. Jesus is teaching us that we have the same level of intimacy and knowledge with Him that the apostles had when we follow Him.

I have seen a shepherd attending to his sheep, and I have heard him call them by name. Incredibly, I have watched the sheep respond to his commands in obedience. I remember one of the sheep trying to eat out of a neighbor’s garden as they were traveling home, and the shepherd yelled loudly and swatted at the offender. This prompted an immediate change of direction as the sheep followed the original command to return home. I find it amazing that Jesus used this illustration to explain how He sees us, and how He expects us to follow Him.

There are two questions we ask often here at the Grove, “What is God saying to you?” and “What are you going to do about it?” I believe Jesus cares how we answer those questions because our response indicates if we trust Him and follow Him. I believe God is yelling at those of us who have wandered away, and is telling us to come together as the Body of Christ and unite ourselves in prayer. As we pray, we seek to hear God’s voice calling us to share His love and redemption through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. If the pandemic keeps us from praying together in person, will we find a way to pray together another way? Why not gather with your friends from your community group or serve team on the phone, on Zoom, or on FaceTime to pray together for the needs of our church family? Remember the promise found in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” I think this promise covers virtual meetings as well as in-person gatherings.

ACTION STEP
Contact 2 or 3 friends and ask if they will join you in prayer for the needs of our church family and our community. Suggest meeting physically or virtually and plan a time to pray. Even if you are unable to meet with others, explore options like praying independently at the same time every day with your prayer partners.

PRAYER TIME
Pray for those in our church family that are experiencing illness related to the newest strain of the Coronavirus. Ask God for healing, for restoration, and for unity in the family.

Father, I pray that we will listen intently and discern your voice as You speak to us about Your will for us, our church family, and our community. We humbly ask you to heal our friends and family as they struggle with Covid-19 and its effects. We praise You for the promise of Your presence and believe that You care for us and our well-being. Please unite our church family and use us to reach our community with Your love, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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