To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
A friend recently commented to me that sheep aren’t exactly geniuses, but they can learn their own names. They respond to their names. The other Name they respond to is the that of the Shepherd, Whose voice they recognize. In fact, they won’t follow the voice of a stranger.
Maybe they’re smarter than we give them credit for.
There was a keeper of the door in the sheepfolds of the day, and the doorkeeper would open only for the shepherd, or his designated employee. So I got to thinking about who the doorkeeper of my heart would be.
I believe it is the Holy Spirit Who keeps my heart’s door protected, and allows only my Good Shepherd to enter. I love what Dr. Charles Stanley describes as a “check in the spirit.” This happens when someone other than God is trying to get into your heart; someone who wants to misdirect you, take you on a forbidden path, away from the Good Shepherd. Those illicit temptations are many, aren’t they? I feel that check in the spirit in areas I particularly love, like reading or listening to music. “Oh, be careful little eyes. . .be careful little ears. . .” If you went to Sunday school as a child, you’ll remember that song. Even though we learn it as little children, it applies all our lives.
This passage tells us that when the Shepherd takes the sheep out of the fold, He walks in front of them. He leads them, knowing that they will follow because they know Him.
But there are always those who stray, and when they do, the Shepherd seeks them and rescues them from their folly.
Not only will the sheep refuse to follow the voice of a stranger. They will run away from him, because they don’t know him.
Do we run away from Satan? He is the stranger who tries to enter the sheepfold some way other than the door. He may entice us in a number of different ways, but if we sense that check in the spirit, we will refuse to follow. In fact, we will RUN the other way! A wise decision, always.