And the Sheep of his hand–heed his voice!

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,” (Psalm 95:6-7)

To ears familiar with a certain chorus, the psalm’s transition here is as jarring as the stopping point is awkward and incomplete. We go from an upbeat worship tune playing in our heads to a solemn, perhaps even tuneless, warning not to harden our hearts against the voice of God.

So what is the connection? We are the sheep of his pasture, kept in the hand of the shepherd. God’s sheep, Jesus declared famously in the gospels, know their shepherd’s voice and heed it. So it is a quite logical next step to urge, if the shepherd speaks, be a good sheep and listen and follow him rather than going astray after our own way.

Lord, we thank you for choosing us and making us the sheep of your pasture. We thank you for keeping us safe in your hands. Open our ears, Lord, to both hear, know, and recognize your voice. Grant us discernment to know what thoughts of the heart are from you, what is from the enemy, and what is of our own flesh. Give us an earnest desire to seek after what your voice says and follow your lead. Soften our hearts towards you today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.