If we have ever been in love, we know that hearing the voice of the one whom we love can make our heart flutter with anticipation. Well, one might object here that this is a common human experience, however, does it apply to our experience of hearing God just the same? Jesus said,
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn 10:27 ESV)
This is a promise, a statement that assures us that His sheep can discern His voice from others. Jesus “knows” them, i.e., He loves them, and we might assume as well that their love causes them to follow Him eventually. Although there might be many voices every day that talk to us without interruptions, there must be something special about the voice of the One who created us. In order to illustrate what I just tried to explain, I will share my latest “sheep experience” with you. 😉
Yesterday I decided to take a prayer walk before preparing dinner. Since I have struggled with fighting a cold for some days, I left my bike in the basement with a heavy heart since I would have rather made a cycle tour under the clear blue sky. Nonetheless, finding myself about a half hour later on the biker bridge (walkers are allowed too, of course), I had to grin about myself, once again, for I truly tend to forget while walking time and again that I have no “wheels under my feet”, so to speak. Completely lost in contemplation and in my own thoughts, I sometimes realize that I am walking on a biking trail which is meanwhile more familiar to me than hiking trails are. 🙂 Be that as it may, as I saw that there was a flock of sheep beneath the bridge, I wanted to take some pics with my cell phone. Alas, the sun stood very low in the west and it was not possible to take good pics from there. The shepherd saw me standing on the bridge and told me what to do. Actually, he is a very friendly man. Even last week as I had come very close to his sheep on a hill at the Rhine-Main-Danube Channel where they, the sheep, had finally chased me away from one of my prayer benches, their shepherd gave me some good advice as I was biking uphill which is partly very steep. Since I did not cycle with a mountain bike, I eventually would have to realize that my city bike, out of the blue, would rear up like a horse so that I lost control and balance as only my back wheel had touched the ground. 😛 Oh boy, I was even mad at God that He didn’t warn me before… But maybe, He did, though, yet my ears had been stuffed on that very day.
Anyway, yesterday as I was walking around the provisional fence that surrounded the flock, I was disappointed that those lovely sheep decided to only show me their wooly bottom. Talking to them did not help either. Quite the contrary! From whichever side I approached them, no sheepy face wanted to posh up the pics I took. As I had almost given up on it, one sheep suddenly turned around and looked me right in the eyes. It stood completely still and listened to my voice while the others kept feeding on the grass and weeds. Wow!! That was an amazing experience! Only one of those many sheep that finally listened to me… 🙄
In closing, I want to share a quote from Oswald Chambers with you which deals with the danger of knowing a lot versus knowing, i.e. loving, the One who created knowledge of any kind. If we are used to only “know” in our minds, but not with our hearts, we might miss the chance to encounter the Living God, even today.
It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus. The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps intimate touch with Jesus. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine was no more to Mary than the grass under her feet. Any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could not ridicule out of her was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her; yet His blessings were nothing in comparison to Himself. Mary “saw Jesus standing and knew not that it was Jesus”; immediately she heard the voice, she knew she had a past history with the One who spoke. “Master”!
[Bold emphasis mine]