Hearing God: How can we hear His voice?
How can we hear God’s voice?
“What does God want from me”?
As a kid on the farm, mustering sheep was a dusty business, hot conditions had burnt the grass to a shrivel, and sheep’s hooves pounded any leftovers.
The simmering heat matched our tempers; sheep were frightened by narrow gates and blustering motorbikes. We’d herd them through gates by shouting swear words more common than kangaroos, the sheep not knowing the difference, but it made us feel better. Just when we were on a roll, the sheep finally entering the paddock, our granddad could be seen in the distance by a puff of dust. Wanting to be helpful, he’d ride in the opposite direction to the sheep; scattering them like a kid running through a flock of pigeons at the beach. Oh the mayhem!
So when Jesus says we are to be like sheep, I’m not that excited. What are you saying Jesus? That we are stupid, confused, frightened and defenceless? Well, compared to Him, that’s a dead-cert, yes!
But let’s go with the sheep analogy. Not the sheep that are cajoled from behind by dogs and mountain men in Australia, but the sheep in hebrew times. In those times, the shepherd actually walked in front of a small flock of sheep, and they followed him! They each have names; Gertie, Bertie and Flirty. And the shepherd called their name and they walk after him!
The shepherd leads them by still waters so they can drink; the nose being so close to the mouth that any disturbance in the water, and they can’t swallow it. The shepherd has a staff to hook any sheep straying into danger, and a cudgel to beat off any dangerous animals; which was quite common as they walked down into valleys of dark shadows.
When it was really hot, the sheep would not rest, but keep walking around, so the shepherd would tie their feet together and lay them on their side to rest them.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 23:
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
This Psalm is all the more poignant when we know that the writer’s job was a Shepherd when he was young and when he grew up, became a King! He is basically saying, “When I was a kid I was a Shepherd; but now that I’m King, I’m a sheep, and you, God, are my Shepherd.” Wow, that’s humility.
Reading this Psalm, the image is that God wants us to follow Him, like the pictures we see of sheep walking single file along a track. The sheep hear his voice, and they follow.
But sometimes I think we can be scattered sheep in a paddock, not hearing God’s voice above the racket of materialism and heading fast ways into danger.
But how can we hear God you ask? A good way to start hearing the voice of God is to start reading the bible and trying to change our ways to line up with His. That’s not always easy, but with God’s helper, the Holy Spirit, He can he guide us. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
Today’s lesson? Be the Sheep that follows!
For me, the hardest part is wanting to change my attitude, sometimes there’s more change in an empty money box, than in that. I hope it’s better for you!