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Shepherd Vs. Stranger

"The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:3b-5)."

John chapter 10 speaks of Jesus as our Shepherd. It says that sheep (that's us!) follow the Shepherd (that's Him!) because "they know His voice."

To "know" in this portion of scripture is defined in the orginal language of the New Testament (Greek) as the ability to discern His voice from all others. Having heard His voice enough times to become familiar with the tone, pitch, and nuannces of His sound - knowledge has been gained that allows us to easily distinguish it from the voice of a stranger.

I am often reminded of this verse when at home with my children.

I can hear a cry from rooms away and tell who the cry belongs to.

I know the sound of their voices - the uniqueness of each cry.

When we go out into a crowd of people, a quick pause to listen will often direct me to the exact location of my children.


Because in a sea of unfamiliar noises - their voices are familiar.

TIME with them has led to KNOWLEDGE of them.

And I've discovered over the years - the same is true with our Shepherd.

The more TIME we spend with Him, the greater the KNOWLEDGE we will have of Him.

But that's not all.

Yes, the voice of our Shepherd will be more easily identified, but also - the voice of the stranger will be become more obvious.

A "stranger" in this portion of scripture is described in the original Greek as not only an "enemy" but also an "other." It's amazing how "muddy" things can become when too many voices attempt to give direction. I imagine it's a lot like when my husband and I use to ask our fourteen children what they would like for dinner and the answers begin pouring in from all directions.

"I want Pizza!"


"A good burger!"

"How about tacos?"

As more voices and suggestions joined in - my husband and I would often look at each other and ask, "What have we done?"

All the ideas jumbled together. It was hard to hear even one clear thought. We knew a decision needed to be made, but...what one was the right one?

Choosing burgers would let down the taco-lovers in our family.

Choosing tacos meant the kid who hates tomatoes and lettuce was basically just going to eat a tortilla for dinner.

The chaos of voices around us created a chaos of questions within us.

Thankfully over the years, we've learned a better way to let everyone have a voice and not embrace a constant state of overwhelmed - BUT the lesson of "too many voices" has stuck with me.

As sheep, we need one Shepherd.

We can't follow everyone.

In fact, we aren't called to.

We are called to follow our Shepherd.

Our Shepherd who goes before us.

Our Shepherd who laid His life down for us.

But to follow His voice, we must know His voice, and knowledge comes with time...

Time spent with Him.

Time spent listening.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27)."

  • How much time do you spend on a daily basis listening for the Shepherd's voice?

  • Have you felt the chaos of voices around you leading you to a chaos of questions within you? How did you/do you silence the noise so you can hear the Shepherd?

  • Where can you carve out time in your everyday ordinary to be quiet before the Lord and listen for Him to speak?


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