Tonight’s service looked at John 10:1-18 and the fact that Jesus is the good shepherd and we are His sheep. Jesus contrasts Himself – the good shepherd – with all who might get paid for looking after sheep but don’t really care about them, a theme found also in the Old Testament (see Ezekiel 34). Jesus demonstrates His love for us, the sheep, by laying down His life for us and we can be secure in His care and protection of us, as Ps 23 also indicates.
We need God’s protection, not only because of our own sin and stupidity, but because there are enemies who would seek to separate us from God. Jesus gives us great encouragement, however, telling us no one can snatch us from the Father’s hand. (John 10:27-30) The key to succes lies in knowing and recognising the shepherd’s voice. This takes time, effort and practice, for there are many voices crying out for our attention, but as we learn to ask, seek and knock (Matt 7:7-8), we are reminded that God does want to speak to us. He is a God who is always speaking and if we seek Him, He has promised we will find Him. (Jer 29:12-13)
God speaks in many ways, sometimes (but not always by any means) in an audible voice, but also through His word, the Bible. He may well confirm or explain further through the prophetic (a word of knowledge, word of wisdom or prophecy given to someone to build us up), through the counsel and advice of others (who may not know the significance of what they are saying but who can be used by God to speak to us!) or through circumstances and timing which really can’t be explained in any other way than as coming from God.
Fundamentally, we need to understand that:
God desires to speak to us
God will speak to us
God has our best interests at heart
God leads us as a good shepherd
our role is simply to follow Him, wherever He leads.