The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:1-3 NLT
Jesus is many times referred to as the Good Shepherd in Scripture. One thing that is significant to know about sheep is that they are easily frightened. And they can panic over the smallest of surprises. Just like us.
Phillip Keller wrote a classic book over 40 years ago entitled “A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23.” Keller spent years as a shepherd. This experience made the words of the 23rd Psalm come alive to him. He recounts one episode where a friend came from the city to visit him. He writes, “She had a tiny Pekingese pup along. As she opened the car door the pup jumped out on the grass. Just one glimpse of the unexpected little dog was enough. In terror, over two hundred of my sheep which were resting nearby leaped up and rushed off across the pasture.”
When in danger sheep search for their shepherd’s voice. And the interesting thing about sheep is that they have a keen sense of distinguishing among voices. They will recognize the shepherd’s voice among a multiple of other voices.
So how do we train ourselves to hear the voice of God among the multitude of other voices or leading in our lives? The same way that sheep learn to understand and trust the voice of the shepherd. By hearing from the shepherd over and over again until they recognize his voice. We must intentionally commit to spend time in our relationship with God. We understand and know God primarily by studying and reflecting on His word as expressed in Scripture. Yet we also understand and know God by humbling ourselves and being open to the Holy Spirit and recognizing its movement in our lives.
God desires that all His creation hear His voice. And where will that voice lead us in this world? That we may have all the fullness of His blessings, of His peace, of His love, of His mercy, of His grace so that like the 23rd Psalm says …that we can be so content that we can lie down in the green pastures. That we can be lead to the still waters, the waters of rest that can sustain us and not exhaust us. So that our souls can be restored and even when we have those times when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we are comforted.
So we listen, we search, we seek the voice of the shepherd, the Good Shepherd the one who laid down his life for us, the one who so desires that we have life and have it to its fullest.