Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. – Revelation 13:11
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27
I learned today that of all mammals, only humans and monkeys have color vision. That means the rest of the warm-blooded creatures God created use senses other than sight to determine whether something is friend or foe. Many animals use a highly developed sense of smell. Sheep, however, use their ears. For sheep, it matters less how the shepherd dresses, or whether or not their hair is neat and tidy, or even if they smell like they haven’t had a shower in a few days. What matters most to them is the sound of their shepherd’s voice. What does a true shepherd sound like?
I have met a number of very confused sheep who listen with their eyes. I am not talking about individuals who read sign language, rather those who trust in whatever looks the most appealing, paying no attention to the voice with which it speaks. Remember Eve, in the Garden of Eden, who chose to trust the serpent’s voice rather than God’s because the forbidden fruit looked appealing. Proverbs warns men many times about steering clear of the adulterous woman. How often are we fooled by the shiny wrapping or flashy pictures on TV advertisements and then terribly disappointed by the product once it is paid for, opened, and unable to be returned? In this world, if we seek our Good Shepherd with our eyes, we will likely be led astray… for if it looks like a sheep, but sounds like a dragon, it is not to be trusted.
Our Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, speaks with authority. It was this voice, this living Word of God that spoke creation into existence. It is not the voice of arrogance – pushing its will over its followers by brute force and volume. It is not the voice of egotism – parading itself around as the center of existence. It is not the voice of seduction – stringing out lines of baited promises to lure in the unwary. It is not the voice of suspicion and accusation – constantly picking apart everything that crosses its path. It is not the voice of fear – stirring up anxiety and frenzy into each mind it reaches. Those are the many voices of the great serpent Satan, cast out of heaven… a dragon dressed in sheep’s clothing.
Scripture describes our Lord’s voice as something much greater. My favorite description of God’s voice is the sound of “many waters”. Many waters may sound loud or soft, rough or gentle, but it is constant and consistent. Our God, who is three in one eternally speak the same message of love: lifting creation up from the mire of sin and destruction. It is a voice that does not contradict itself. It is a voice that speaks truth, not just something that wins popularity.
How do we know what this voice sounds like if we are not sure we’ve ever heard it? Fortunately for us, there are samples of God’s voice recorded over several thousand years in the Bible. Spend some time with the Scriptures and you will be surprised how quickly you start to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd around you… still speaking that same message of creative love into the world around us, calling us to follow Him upon the paths of righteousness that lead us up the hills, through the valleys, to green pastures and calm waters.