There Shall Be One Flock and One Shepherd”

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 4
“They (the sheep) know His voice, and a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
John 10 has especial instruction for us at this moment.
The great and important matter is that “They know His voice.” Beautiful and divine order is here; and a necessary effect of this is that they do not know the voice of strangers. What then? This is not all that is said, for (first), they will not follow the stranger; and (secondly), they will flee from him.
How can I discern if it is the voice of the good Shepherd? Easily. You know Him. You know then His thought, His care, His interest in feeding and nursing every lamb and sheep of His flock. You know what He thinks of any one who would make the sheep his sheep, forgetting that they are Christ’s.
“The thief (thus he calls that man) cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” All this, true in Israel in that day, has remained always true and is still true. Plain words He uses, may we hear.
But there is more for your guidance even than this. The thief gathers the sheep for his own ends, and the result is that there is scattering, for every thief that comes (and there are many that come during the passage of the sheep through the wilderness) is found taking some, and thus increasing the confusion. But if one comes, and by him the sheep are more distinctly led after the Good Shepherd, then the flock is more distinctly united, and thus the opposite of the work of the thief is done. Thus you discern the voice of the Good Shepherd, speaking through the under shepherds, whom He sends forth now to feed and nourish His flock. (Acts 20:2828Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28); John 21:1515So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (John 21:15); 1 Peter 5:2-52Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:2‑5).)
And the wolf may come too, as well as the thief. But he who serves the Lord as an under shepherd does not “flee as an hireling” even then. Imitating his Lord, who was faithful even unto death, he will not leave them. Any voice you hear suggesting that it is time to flee, you at once know cannot be the Shepherd’s voice. It is then the “voice of a stranger.”
No animal more foolish, as well as more feeble, it has been said, than the sheep. And thus thy Lord by this figure would show us ourselves, and, blessed be His name, Himself too.
They only know “it is not His voice,” and thus everything is settled for them. They do not argue about the claims or the statements the voice makes. If it waxes louder and louder, it only makes them flee the further and the faster from it. It is their wisdom to hear the Shepherd’s voice; no path for them but what it points out; no food for them but what He gives; no love for them like His.
How does all this apply to the troubles and difficulties of these last days? How, my reader, has it helped you in them? And where will you be found, if the Lord leaves you yet awhile to tread the wilderness?
O, the grace that cares for us notwithstanding all. Jesus is the same (Heb. 13:88Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)), His voice is still to be heard; His sheep are His still, either stumbling and scattered, or feeding and resting. Which?
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psa. 23:1, 21<<A Psalm of David.>> The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (Psalm 23:1‑2).