How does God lead?
“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.”
Hearing His voice
As our Good Shepherd, Jesus promises that we can hear and know His voice. This does not, however, have to be some mysterious, mystical process. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that God speaks to you quite often. I would venture to say He has spoken to you lately and may be speaking to you right now in some way.
God speaks to us through His Word. God will never lead us contrary to His written Word. It is our litmus test, our bedrock, our absolute.
God speaks to us through circumstances. Those circumstances can include failure. Jonah certainly heard God through his mistake. God may even speak to us through tragedy or hardship. C. S. Lewis wrote that, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.”
God speaks to us through His peace. When we live in God’s will, we enjoy His peace. Do you need God to make a crucial call in your life? Then listen for His peace.
And once we have heard God’s voice, what should we do? We must follow. Jesus calls, we respond. He whispers, we move. We follow — and then we keep on listening.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10Â â€œVery truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2Â The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3Â The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4Â When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.5Â But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangerâ€™s voice.â€6Â Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7Â Therefore Jesus said again, â€œVery truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8Â All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9Â I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10Â The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11Â â€œI am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.12Â The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13Â The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14Â â€œI am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know meâ€” 15Â just as the Father knows me and I know the Fatherâ€”and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16Â I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17Â The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my lifeâ€”only to take it up again. 18Â No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.â€
19Â The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20Â Many of them said, â€œHe is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?â€
21Â But others said, â€œThese are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?â€
Further Conflict Over Jesusâ€™ Claims
22Â Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23Â and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomonâ€™s Colonnade.
Holy Bible, New International VersionÂ®, NIVÂ® Copyright Â© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.Â® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The boundless realms of his Father‘s universe are Christ‘s by prescriptive right. As “heir of all things,” he is the sole proprietor of the vast creation of God, and he has admitted us to claim the whole as ours, by virtue of that deed of joint-heirship which the Lord hath ratified with his chosen people. The golden streets of paradise, the pearly gates, the river of life, the transcendent bliss, and the unutterable glory, are, by our blessed Lord, made over to us for our everlasting possession. All that he has he shares with his people. The crown royal he has placed upon the head of his Church, appointing her a kingdom, and calling her sons a royal priesthood, a generation of priests and kings. He uncrowned himself that we might have a coronation of glory; he would not sit upon his own throne until he had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by his blood. Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror! Christ’s throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours. Far superior to the jealousy, selfishness, and greed, which admit of no participation of their advantages, Christ deems his happiness completed by his people sharing it. “The glory which thou gavest me have I given them.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” The smiles of his Father are all the sweeter to him, because his people share them. The honours of his kingdom are more pleasing, because his people appear with him in glory. More valuable to him are his conquests, since they have taught his people to overcome. He delights in his throne, because on it there is a place for them. He rejoices in his royal robes, since over them his skirts are spread. He delights the more in his joy, because he calls them to enter into it.
“He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.”
Who is he of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why doth he carry the lambs in his bosom? Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts his heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of his flock draw forth his compassion. It is his office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, he purchased them with blood, they are his property: he must and will care for that which cost him so dear. Then he is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of his glory and reward.
But how may we understand the expression, “He will carry them”? Sometimes he carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are “carried” by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently he “carries” them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.
“He carries the lambs in his bosom.” Here is boundless affection. Would he put them in his bosom if he did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and his weak ones. Here is perfect safety: in his bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!