My sheep hear My voice, and I know them. They follow Me.
Jesus often compared His people to sheep and described himself as the Good Shepherd. This comparison was easy for his listeners to understand. The Israelites understood well the relationship a shepherd had with his sheep. For protection, it was common for several shepherds to feed their sheep in the same field, but when it was time to move their flocks, their sheep recognized their Shepherd's voice, or whistle, and followed him.
Even though sheep are not on the list of most intelligent animals, it was easy for the sheep to recognize their Shepherd's voice because they spent enough time with him to distinguish easily his whistle. Because the sheep completely trusted their Shepherd, they did not hesitate to follow his voice when he began to move.
Sadly, it is no longer as easy for Christ's sheep to recognize His voice. The lack of recognition is not because He is not speaking to us but because we do not spend enough time with our Shepherd to recognize Him. If we are honest, for many of us, it is easier to recognize the voice of actors or news anchors than the voice of Christ because we spend more time in front of the media than in prayer.
Please do not think for a minute that I am criticizing anyone. In the busy technological world in which we live, I know how difficult it is to set aside time to pray or read the Bible. We all wish our days would be longer than 24 hours. I simply want to share that every day, the number of sheep following Christ decreases in first-world countries.
I think that this reduction in the number of Christ's followers is partly due to us no longer recognizing our Shepherd's voice. If we spend more time in front of a computer or the television than in the presence of God, it is natural for us to follow the guidance of the media instead of the voice of God.
My challenge this week for us is to do our best to get away from technology for a few hours each week and invest that time reading the Bible and praying. Only then will we be able to hear the voice of Christ, our Good Shepherd. Think about it. If the voice we hear the most is the one we follow, whose voice are we following?