Jesus called us sheep. God through the writers of the Bible talked about the sheep who went astray, and the facts are in on sheep. They aren’t the brightest animals in the barn. But the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep is an incredibly important one.
John 10:3-4 NLT
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.
Notice the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep and how there is comfort, strength and protection, yet the most important word here is relationship.
The sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice.
We can know the voice of God. What makes it easy to recognize is the fact that we’ve heard it a lot. We’ve talked. We’ve listened. We’ve enjoyed time in His presence. The sheep found that the shepherd’s voice calms their fears, allows them to enjoy the place where they are, and the shepherd’s voice was directed toward His sheep. That is true of God.
The sheep hear His voice and come to Him.
We can and must listen to God’s voice, and in turn respond by coming to Him. By coming to God we will find the resources we need for this life and for eternity. Coming to God takes faith. You have to set aside fears and failures. Then you find stronger faith and success.
He calls his sheep by name.
Our relationship with God is personal. He not only knows our name, but He calls us by name. He loves us and desires to spend time with us as well as to bless our lives in ways we cannot even imagine. A shepherd was there to provide and protect the sheep, and the shepherd was also there to nurture them one at a time. God does that to us as we hear His voice, we come to Him and listen even closer.
The shepherd walks ahead of the sheep.
God goes ahead of us. He knows where we are, and He knows where we are going. It is a great relationship because both, sheep and shepherd, have a connection. God connects to us as our creator and as our Savior. We connect to God by accepting Jesus and by following Him each day. Sheep often try to go their own only to realize the safest, strongest and best place is with the shepherd.
John 10:9-11 NLT
Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.