It is the voice of the Good Shepherd. John 10.1-18.
I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep
“Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear
…things I would ask him to tell me, if he were here:
scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
stories of Jesus, tell them to me…” **
oh, I remember singing that old hymn when I was a small child. And surely one of the most beloved stories and the most treasured images of the Jesus I first loved was that of Jesus, the Good Shepherd … my good shepherd.
Why did I love thinking of Jesus as my shepherd? Like the psalmist, I knew that if the Lord were my shepherd, I would have no want. He would lead me beside quiet waters, protect me in life’s dark valleys and surround me with his mercy and love all the days of my life. Yes, with the Lord as my shepherd, I would know his care and tender attention, despite whatever life brought my way, and truly, I have!
Sheepherding was a common occupation for the people of Israel, and they were familiar with all of its aspects—the challenges of the geography and the round-the-clock care required for the job. The shepherd was known for fearless courage, patient love for his flocks and his willingness to risk his life, if need be, to protect his sheep.
When out in the wilderness, shepherds led their flocks into pens or sheepfolds at night, where a single shepherd kept guard at the opening and the others took turns sleeping. In the morning, each shepherd would go to the opening and call out his flock; because he had a unique call or whistle, his sheep knew his voice. One by one, his sheep would come out from the others and follow him. Really, the shepherd’s relationship to his flock was quite a personal one. [you still this is Israel today! beautiful really]
Do you recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd in your life? You do if you are one of his flock and you make it your purpose to follow him. As your shepherd, it is Jesus’ desire to point out the way you should go, the dangerous things you should avoid and where you can find solace and protection.
Jesus, be my Shepherd.
I want to follow you all the days of my life—
and not be distracted by the voices of others. Amen.
**found this with the beautiful song and more by Carman: