The Voice

Do you remember the voices of your parents?  Maybe your mother always had words of encouragement and comfort.  Maybe your father always had words of guidance and instruction.  Yet, it wasn’t just what they said, but the way they said it that spoke to your heart.  Sometimes, if their voice was harsh and sarcastic it impacted the content of what they were saying to you.  Maybe it delivered a completely different message to your heart.

The voice of the one carrying God’s message is both about the content and the “sound” of His voice… the voice of our Good Shepherd. Isaiah 40:2 says: “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.” What is often translated as “tenderly” is literally “to the heart.”  The word carries with it the idea of the source of life of the inner person… their feelings, thoughts, and will. We remember how it is “God who works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).  He works in us through his voice.  We hear his voice in the Scriptures.

“Speak to the heart of Jerusalem.”  God wants to speak to your heart… to your very soul.  The power of the voice of our Good Shepherd has an impact on our thoughts, feelings and will.  It prepares our hearts.  It brings low the mountains of sinful pride with sobering words about the ephemeral nature of our lives because of sin.  It raises up the valleys of despair with the good news of our Good Shepherd who carries his lambs close to his heart (Isaiah 40:11). As we speak the message of our coming Savior we don’t have to be afraid to leave anything out.  The content of the message is good and the sound of the voice of our gracious God speaks to our hearts whether it is discipline or encouragement, warning or comfort.  


Sometimes, for better or worse, we become like our parents as we raise our own children.  Their gentleness and compassion, or their sarcasm and fear, come out as we reflect our parents to our children and the world around us. Do people hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in our voices?  It’s not only the communicating of facts and principles.  It is God speaking to the hearts, feelings, thoughts, will, the very souls of the people around us. As we speak to the people God has placed in our lives, may they hear not so much our voices, but the voice of our Good Shepherd.  It is his message that speaks to the hearts of his people. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27).  

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