My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me. (John 10:27)
I am writing this posting from the beautiful mountains of northern Italy. Snow covered mountains are outside my window at the Operation Mobilization training facility. Simply beautiful! This is cheese making country and some of that cheese comes from sheep.
I was reminded of an earlier experience in the mind-90’s of working on a YWAM base, an actual sheep farm, in Tasmania. Part of our duties included occasionally moving the sheep from one pasture to the next. We did NOT lead the sheep, we Drove them. They were afraid of us, so we got behind them and drove them through narrow gates, to where we wanted them to go.
In Israel the sheep are led. The shepherd walks ahead of the sheep, clearing danger, searching for the best feeding grounds where the sheep can be nurtured, cared for, fed, rested and matured. The sheep hear his voice, recognize the shepherd, and trustingly follow him.
What a beautiful picture of our Shepherd! He leads us with His loving kindness and does not drive us by fear. His voice, unlike the voice of the enemy, speaks words of assurance, encouragement, and blessing. He knows that fear may move someone for a short distance, but it will never awaken love, gratitude, and a desire to follow the Shepherd wherever He may lead.
May the Lord give us discernment to resist all other voices but His. The pastures that He leads us to may indeed have challenges and valleys but He is with us every step of the way. We must recognize that voices that motivate by shame and fear, even when hear those voices in buildings associated with His name, do not come from the Shepherd. His voice brings life!