Several years ago I read a book called “While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks” by Dr. Timothy Laniak. The author lived with nomadic shepherds in the Middle East in order to gain a greater understanding of what Biblical shepherding was all about. In one chapter he discussed the position of the shepherd in relation to the sheep. There are times when the shepherd is out front leading them, and other times when he’s behind them pushing them forward. When the sheep are an open area, the shepherd is out front. The sheep follow for protection and provision. When they’re traveling through a low visibility area, the shepherd will go behind the sheep to keep them moving. The ones in front feel the pressure of the movement to move forward.
In John 10, Jesus was using shepherds to teach the people about Himself in a manner they could relate to. He called Himself the Good Shepherd. He talked about being the gate as the shepherd. They would have understood the shepherds put the sheep in a pin at night and the shepherd sleeps in the doorway to protect them. He talked about how when dangers come, hired hands run, but the shepherd stays. He then discussed how the sheep know His voice and listen when it’s time to leave the pen. Verse 4 says, “When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call” (AMP).
Is Jesus out front leading you or is He pushing you from behind right now? Are you listening to His voice as He guides you? There are a lot of competing voices out there trying to get your attention. Jesus said His shepherd know His voice and listen to Him. They know Him and He knows them (verse 27). We must be tuned into His voice each day in order to go where He leads. Whether you have low or high visibility right now for your direction, take time each day to be still and quiet your mind. Pray, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.” Then wait in silence until you hear Him. He’s speaking to you constantly, trying to lead you, but you must listen for His voice and recognize His call. The more you sit quietly in His presence, the more you will hear Him speak to you.