Sheep know which flock they belong to, and which shepherd is their shepherd. Over time, they link the sound of the voice of their shepherd with the benefits he provides for them. Whenever they hear that voice, they’ll respond at once, knowing that he’s their own master. They aren’t content until they recognize their master’s voice. But it’s not a situation where they merely recognize their shepherd’s voice—when they hear his voice, they’ll actually rush in his direction. Whenever they hear him speak, they’re continually convinced that he’ll take care of them, because he’s the one they’re familiar with.
“…He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” (John 10:1-2). If another person puts on the clothes of the shepherd, the sheep won’t pay attention to him, since they know their shepherd by his voice. And those people who are truly chosen of God will also listen to and heed the voice of their own Shepherd. But those who aren’t His will not—they’ll listen instead to the multitude of voices that constantly appeal to the ears and the hearts of those who are sinful.
When we hear God’s voice, it should command our undivided attention and we should respond to it—because we realize that the Good Shepherd is beckoning. The shepherd uses his voice to announce that he’s there. We shouldn’t draw back from His voice when our Shepherd speaks, because He isn’t trying to frighten or upset us. He’s our source for the kind of faith we should have in order to respond to and obey His voice. Then we are delighted to hear Him, and we learn to look forward to hearing Him speak to us. Sheep go to the one safe place they know for protection, which is close to their shepherd—within the radius of his voice. They always desire to be within hearing distance of that friendly and familiar voice, knowing that they’ll be able to thrive under his tender care. If it’s our desire to benefit from listening to our Shepherd’s voice. Then we must be close enough to hear Him and to do what He tells us to do.
“…when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:4). Those who are chosen of God are known by the fact that they hear and recognize the voice of Christ. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5). They pay attention to the voice and follow the path of their Shepherd alone. This is how they’re known as His sheep.
The Shepherd says that there are “other sheep” who will also hear His voice and who need to be brought into the fold. His flock won’t be complete without them. “As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold [flock], and one Shepherd” (John 10:15-16). Our Shepherd is capable of saving and re-creating the ones who are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked…” (Revelation 3:17) that hear His voice. But do they hear His voice and respond to it? That’s the most important consideration.
Christ speaks as the One who has men’s hearts under His control. Those who are true to Him in heart know His voice, but those who are false will follow someone else. The True Shepherd’s voice is only heard by His own sheep. And only those who “hear His voice” and sincerely desire the truth will know Christ. He also knows those who will be His who haven’t been called yet. Christ will come in wherever He’s not shut out by unbelief. He chooses the ones who choose Him. They’re the ones who hear His call and respond that they believe. Once they hear and believe and accept what Christ has said, they become a member of His flock, His sheep, His family. When people choose to follow the True Shepherd, it always means life for them. In most of the world, men have rejected Him. But He comes to be admitted into the lives of all who claim to love Him.
Have you become a member of His flock? “For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His voice…” (Psalm 95:7) you can come to know Him for yourself and can follow His voice right now. Then you, too, will discover that all is well! He will take care of you. He will make you one of His flock. He is the Good Shepherd! “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. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3).
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