As of right now this is my favorite passage. I say as of right now because it hasn’t always been. Just recently the Lord continues to speak this over me. Every time I read this passage I replace the word “I” with “Jesus.” And I replace “sheep” with me. Jesus is the good shepherd. Jesus lays his life down for me. Jesus knows me. And I know him. This is for us. He didn’t say that there was an exception or “black” sheep. He calls each of us his sheep. Each and everyone of us. He is our good shepherd. He is the one who guides us, who directs us, who tends to us.
When I first read this passage I got frustrated. I was frustrated because I was jealous that the sheep only knew the voice of their shepherd. It wasn’t fair to me—because in my head there are what seems like millions of voices. I hear my voice, I hear the enemy’s voice, I hear my friend’s voices and I hear my family’s voice. My thoughts are always going and I used to think that I couldn’t hear the Lord’s voice. I used to believe that He wasn’t speaking to me. But He was, He is and He will continue to speak to me because He knows me. He knows all of His sheep. He knows each of us by name. He is not the hired hand who is going to abandon us when trouble strikes. He is not that friend or that sister or that mother who is going to disappoint.
He calls us by name. He leads us. When He brings us into the fullness and freedom that He has for us He goes before us and we follow Him. We can follow Him solely by His voice. No longer do we have to follow a stranger. No longer to we have to follow that lie or that insecurity that we do daily. We have the power to recognize His voice from every other voice. And we have to power to run from the voice of the enemy. I went from being frustrated at this passage to being encouraged by this passage. The Lord showed me that this isn’t just for other people. This isn’t just for everyone else. That He is a good shepherd to me, too. He knows me by name. He calls me by name. And He calls you by name. He knows you.
Lord, I thank you. I thank you that you are the good shepherd. I thank you that we get to be your sheep. I pray that you continue to reveal to us our identity in you. I pray that every other voice in our head would be completely silenced, no matter how loud it seems. I pray that it would be easy to hear you. That we would follow your voice and your voice alone. That we would trust that you aren’t like any other shepherd-that you are the good shepherd. That you go before us. That you will never abandon us. Lord, I pray that this truth would stick. That it would transform the ways that we think and the way we walk. Lord, thank you that you are the shepherd who never leaves us.
- Ashley Gibson