Image by Astrid Photography.(busy with a new home) via FlickrGood Evening to All!
Jesus said, "The watchman opens the gate for the shepherd, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and
his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice. ...I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." John 10:3-5, 16
The New King James Version Reference explains it this way:
John 10:3-5: The doorkeeper or watchman refers to the under-shepherd. "Calls" expresses personal address rather than a general or authoritative invitation. "By name: The name of sheep was an ancient practice (see Ps. 147:4, Is. 40:26) This was good practice for the under-shepherd who has been given the charge of a portion of God's flock. (see 1 Pet. 5:2) (4) Brought out is a translation is a translation of the same Greek word used in 9:34, 35 of the Pharisees casting out the man born blind. The false shepherds put out the sheep to rid themselves of trouble. The true shepherd puts out the sheep in order to feed them. The sheep know the voice of the true shepherd. (5) A stranger is anyone whom the sheep do not know, not necessarily a thief and a robber. Sheep would not follow a stranger';s voice even if ye used the shepherds call and imitated his tone. (16) The other sheep were not Jews in heathen lads, but Gentiles. The Jewish people had asked if Jesus would go and teach the Gentiles (7:35). Jesus now declared that He had sheep among the despised heathen. One flock anticipates the salvation of the Gentiles and the formation of the church in which converted Jews and Gentiles would form one spiritual body. (see 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:16).
Discerning God's Voice
How many times have you thought you felt the nudge from God, or heard His still small voice in your spirit only to second guess yourself and convince yourself that it was your imagination or it was you saying what you heard in your mind? The only way any of us are going to get over that problem is to study God's Word. Get it into our heart so that when we hear that voice again, we will know that it is God speaking to us and no one else. Get to know His Word so that we cannot be deceived, because the devil is very subtle and can whisper just enough of God's Word then add a bunch of His own to make it look and sound like you are hearing God's voice in your spirit. The devil's ONLY purpose is to kill, steal and destroy, and in the time he's been out of God's kingdom, he's had a lot of time to perfect Him s means to an end. He is a master at deception, and can more than likely mirror God's "still small voice just enough to lull us into a false sense of security even with the embedded lies.
So be careful and be watchful. Read the Word and hide it in your heart.
People ask, "How can I be sure I am hearing from God?" As believers, hearing God speak to us is our right and our privilege. The Word says that we can know His voice and distinguish it from others; He give us discernment to identify His voice over voices of deception. In John 20:3-5, He parallels this discernment with the instinctive nature of sheep that recognize the voice of their shepherd.
We can discern the difference between God's voice and the voice of deception if we truly know God's character, nature, and the history of how He has led others before us. We will know that what we have heard is something that is in His nature to say. We will know that what He has said does not contradict His Word, wisdom, or common sense.
If we truly belong to God, He will give us discernment to know if what we are hearing is truly from Him or not. He will enable us to distinguish His voice from the deceptive spirit of error. Then we can have confidence that we are following God's direction, whether He is leading us to go forward or telling us to wait.
To hear God and avoid the spirit of error, it is important to look into God's Word and spend time with Him there. The more we study and learn the word, the more we will let its power flow through our lives and the better we will be able to hear, discern and obey God's voice.
Good Night and May God Bless!
Reference materials used: New International Version (Bible)
New King James Version
The Everyday Life Bible ( Amplified Version) with some commentaries by Joyce Meyer and Myself.