|John 10:1-21||Read Online|
…The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.
Have you ever thought about the distinctiveness of the human voice? I did the other day as I watched one of my favorite action movies for about the 12th time. As the good guys are closing in on the terrorists, they attempt to identify him using voiceprint recognition. It’s a technical way to identify the unique pitches, tones and resonations of the voice.
According to Wikipedia, this technology has been around since the military developed it in the 1940s for the purpose of intelligence. It’s very cool—but I knew that technology existed long before I read the article, and in a place where most people don’t suspect.
It’s in my ears.
You see, ever since I can remember, I’ve known the sound of my daddy’s voice. Its unique pitches and tones have been in my ears literally from the day I was born until the day he died in 2004. I can remember what it sounded like when Daddy got a little mad at me. (Okay, he got really mad. But this isn’t about me, right?)
He’d simply say, “Son…” and whatever he said afterwards mattered very little. I knew he wasn’t happy with me. The funny thing was, he could use the same exact word with a different tone and I’d know that the next words out of his mouth were some words of encouragement or instruction.
Later, as my dad attended almost every sporting event I played in, I’d recognize his voice among a crowd of literally hundreds. His “Come on, son!” would be distinct in my ears from all the years of conditioning. I didn’t need voiceprint recognition to know my dad was in the stands cheering me on.
There’s another place where this technology exists—the human heart.
This is what Jesus is talking about here as He refers to sheep who know His voice. We’ve been given this amazing privilege in our relationship with God. We don’t have to guess what He wants from us. It’s revealed through His Word and “Voice”—the Holy Spirit as He guides us in this life. When we ask for God’s direction, He absolutely desires to speak to us.
Now, many times I have heard people ask, “Why don’t I hear from God? I keep praying but I never seem to hear an answer.” I believe Jesus indicates in this passage that there are two possible answers to that question. The first and most painful reality may be that you aren’t one of His sheep.
Maybe you’ve acted the part and tried to join the flock. Maybe you even know how to talk like a “sheep” should. But Jesus teaches that those who belong to Him, know Him. If this is the case, you may need to have an immediate conversation with a minister who can guide you through some important questions and help you determine to whose “flock” you truly belong.
The second, and probably more likely answer if you are studying God’s Word today, is that you have lost the familiar sound of His voice in your heart. This comes from lack of listening.
When we ask questions, God gives answers. He promised He would and He has never failed in those promises. However, if we, like a rebellious child, fail to tune our ears to what God is saying, we eventually lose our ability to hear Him. His voice becomes unfamiliar to us.
The remedy? Exactly what you are doing right now. Studying His Word and praying to Him. The most important element here is that you have to listen with consistency. Disobeying His voice or failing to talk regularly will make the voice of God like that of a stranger, and before long you may find yourself unable to distinguish it from all the other voices that compete for your heart.
- What voice in your world is the loudest?
- What do you need to remove from your day so you can find time to talk and listen to God?
- When is the last time you can remember “hearing,” distinctly, the voice of God?
- Tough question here, but do you really want to hear what God has to say to you, regardless of what changes it may mean for your life?