LIVING OUT A SHEEP's LIFE
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a];no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30
189 times the word sheep is mentioned in the modern versions of the Bible. Crazy to think that in the King James Version, sheep is mentioned 1,034 times. I know that sounds crazy but there was a lot about sheep that Jesus used to help us understand where we stand in this world. Just a little bit of sheep knowledge: Sheep's wool will grow forever. They have nearly 360 degree vision. The upper lip of a sheep has a pronounced groove dividing the left and right side. Sheep cannot right themselves if they fall on their backs. Sheep and humans have similar brain structures, but a sheep's reaction time is a lot slower. Why did I put this information in today's devotional? Because, no other animal is referenced more in the Bible in regards to humans by Jesus than sheep.
I know that seems crazy, but in reality Jesus readily used the comparison of him being the shepherd and we being the sheep. It was used in such a way to help us to understand the nature to the relationship of God and man. Jesus was the one that was sort of an outcast and was the one who was willing to go and be with the ones that were smelly and mostly were kept outside of the village. Jesus was a protector in the same way that the shepherd would use it's staff to protect the flock from any danger that would arise. The staff was used to poke, prod and sometimes defend. The crook was used for stability and for rescue. All while the sheep just went about their business of
eating all day long with no worries. One more fun fact, it is stated that a sheep would not recognize that it was being attacked until the attacker took it's second bite... WHAT? And remember, Jesus referenced us to be sheep... so nothing personal, but I think that fact may be spot on as it refers to the struggles and the frustrations that we face on a daily basis. We cannot recognize what may be happening until we are already being attacked.
But today, as we continue to move into this understanding of listening, I want us to recognize the power behind one thing about the relationship between a sheep and the shepherd. As we see in the Scripture today, we read that My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me. One of the craziest things that I have seen in this relationship is the fact that at a very young age, sheep hone in and recognize the voice of their master. The master knows EVERY sheep and the voice of the master is so distinctive to them that even if multiple herds were grazing together, one shout from their master and they would come running. I can relate to that in a different way. Growing up playing sports, it did not matter where I was, I could hear my mom's voice. She would be there in the stands and no matter how loud the band would play or the crowd would scream, I could ALWAYS hear my mom's voice. I had been conditioned and I knew her voice and she knew where I was every play of the game. This same tactic of hearing my mom's voice was used in the middle of many grocery stores when I got separated and she would call my name. No matter where I was in the store, I would come running if she called my name.
So today that is the true question that I am throwing out. Do we live a life like a sheep? Are we open and willing to dial in so much to God's voice that we are able to tune out all of the noise to the rest of the world? We know that through Jesus we are given the opportunity for eternal life. We know that there are many things in this world that is ready to attack us and knock us off our course to follow Jesus. But do we KNOW Jesus, our Shepherd and Master, in such a way that we can discern His voice from the crowd? Have we given our life in such a way to live in full assurance that NOTHING can snatch us out of the hand of our Father? Every time I end an email or a text, you see my tagline In His grip. I take these words from
living a life of a sheep that has given my life in such a way that tries to hone in on the voice of my MASTER and SAVIOR. I live life in such a way that I know that my heart, mind, soul and strength has been placed in the Hand of God and cannot be removed. I still do have doubts, remember I am a sheep and my brain still does not function to full capacity, but I do live a
life filled with the assurance that Jesus is shepherding me to go and change the. world. I step out on faith and do the best I can to recognize the dangers that may surround me because of the vision God has gifted to us as sheep. But the one thing that I pray the most, is that I continue to take the time and listen... I pray that we all take the time to force out the noise and listen to the voice of the Savior who is desperately waiting for his sheep to come home. A shepherd who will leave the 99 to go and find the 1 that is lost, and will not stop fighting until the danger has subsided. I want to live the life of a sheep who gives everything in preparation for the sound of the still small voice to call us home.