Trust the Shepherd: Understanding Biblical Metaphor

I grew up with the words of John 10:27 echoing in my mind. 

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.

I had a picture of one sheep following the sound of a the shepherd talking to him as they walked down a pathway.

But, reading Dale Doron’s story of his experiences changed my mental image of that process and the truth that it conveys. 

Dale Doron used a live lamb as an object lesson for his pastoral studies class in India. He spent time daily with the lamb, training him to know his voice and follow him.

But the idea came from observing shepherd boys in rural Iran during his first missionary assignment. When it was time for the sheep to leave the watering hole, each boy would make a distinct sound that his sheep knew, they would separate into little flocks, each sheep following his own shepherd to grazing.

Now my mental image is a sheep that is part of a large group of sheep. And there are many, competing voices of different shepherds. All the sheep in The Good Shepherd’s flock know his call and they answer and follow together. 

Maybe in the individualistic world view that I grew up in, I’m used to thinking individually, not corporately. 

In a world of competing voices, how do you know which one is the voice of your shepherd? 

The answer, of course, is spending time with the shepherd, getting to know His voice. 

After reading Trust the Shepherd, it hit me that it doesn’t matter if children understand the Bible as it’s read to them. They will come to understand it’s meaning and it will also continue to be a mystery. The important thing is for them to hear the Shepherd’s voice and get to know it. Understanding will follow. 

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