“After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them,
and they follow him because they know his voice.”
– John 10:4
It wasn’t a loud voice, but it got my immediate attention. As a freshman on my high school football team, everything was coming so fast. Most of my teammates were bigger, faster, and seemed to know so much more about what was going on than I did. But that voice, it reached into my heart and filled me with confidence. “Gee”, you can do it, I believe in you!” At 5’7 and 145 pounds, I lined up to block a senior lineman, who was five inches taller and at least fifty-five pounds heavier. The result was not what I had hoped for, but as I pulled myself up off the ground, I was ready to go again. In time I would improve athletically, but right then and there, I knew my coach had confidence in me and I would work as hard as I could to never let him down. I would follow him anywhere he asked me to go.
Jesus describes the ideal shepherd in John 10. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. They follow him because they recognize and trust his voice. Now sheep have a bad reputation for not being very smart. But think about it, they know the shepherd is going to feed them, protect them and meet their every need. From birth, sheep are conditioned to follow the flock. God created them with an instinct to stick together in order to survive. When sheep hear the shepherd’s voice, they feel confident and safe. They will follow him anywhere he takes them. We can find the same confidence by listening for God’s assuring voice. That voice can be heard in many ways: in a prayerful conversation, through a heart-capturing hymn, or jumping off a page of God’s Word. Each time we hear it, our confidence grows. “You can do it, I believe in you.”
Heavenly Father, help me to hear your voice today. Give me the confidence to follow You wherever You ask me to go. Amen.