John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
My voice….When I arrived at Lakeside this summer for my annual time-away-to-write venture, my voice turned out to be the one thing I was missing. All my futile attempts to speak resulted in no more than a pitiful squeak. Then when my three pens ran out of ink while writing in my journal, I thought, “Oh no, they have laryngitis too!” I was alone, so technically I didn’t need my voice, and it was easy to secure another pen, but the situation made me aware of the universal need we have to express ourselves.
Voice is a part of who we are as image-bearers of our Creator.
God’s voice, scripture tells us, brought the universe into existence. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). His voice echoes with power and majesty. It strikes with lightening, shakes the desert and twists the trees (Psalm 29). Hearing his voice keeps our hearts from hardening and helps us resist temptation (Psalm 95:7-8). It’s tough to imagine a more formidable means of expression than the voice of God.
Yet every believer on earth is given access to hearing this voice. That’s what Jesus says in John 10. How profound! You and I have the ability to hear, as Francis Schaeffer would say, “the God who is not silent.”
We’re surrounded by voices competing fiercely for our attention. Strident voices demanding more than we can give, screeching voices provoking us to worry and fear, falsettos that lie to us, grumbles that dishearten us, chuckles that amuse us. From The Village Voice to The Voice of the Martyrs we are immersed in a cacophony of voices. Yet despite the clamor, we possess the ability to distinguish the voice of the Lord from all the others.
The question: Are we tuning in?
Jesus says his sheep know his voice. It’s a voice so compelling it draws us to follow him. And no wonder. That voice belongs to the shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. That voice protects us from voices (and vices) wanting to destroy us. That voice leads us to life more abundant than any won on The Voice TV show.
So today, above all else, no matter where you are or what you do, take time to listen for his voice, listen…and follow.