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Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 22:1-23:29 ESV, John 10:1-21 ESV, Psalm 115:1-18 ESV, Proverbs 15:18-19 ESV

Daily Verse: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1 ESV)

LESTES (3027): “A lestes is a robber; a brigand, one who plunders openly and by violence; whereas the kleptes (2812); a thief, denotes one who steals by stealth.”[i]

Plunders openly.

Sheep pens held several families’ flocks together.  As members of God’s family, adopted through Christ, our brothers and sisters come from all nations and tribes.  Heaven’s sheep pen will have many faces of all colors; praise God.

If someone tries to enter the gate in any other way, they will fail.  Religious leaders during Jesus’ time worshipped the law instead of God.  Some still do the same today.  But Jesus wants us to follow Him, loving God and others as He did.  As God’s sheep, we know His voice; any other voice we must ignore.

Voice recognition.

As a dog mom, when I call their name, my two tiny beasts recognize my voice.  In the same way, sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd.  Leading His flock, Jesus doesn’t drive from behind; He goes first, expecting us to follow.

Religious leaders’ intent on the law drives the flock from behind­–whispering in our ear manipulative words, trying to get us off track with their judgments.  Unfortunately, people like the Pharisees don’t realize their faults.  Or they choose to cover them up by pointing fingers at other people’s misdemeanors.  And we all have failings, every one of us.

But Jesus takes on our sins, giving us a clean slate.  When we stand before God on judgment day, Jesus stands with us, making us perfect in God’s eye.  No better shepherd exists than the one who shepherds us.

Don’t let zealous religious leaders focused on puffing up themselves impact your walk with Jesus.  Recognize the voice of the shepherd as you follow Him closely.  The closer you follow, the better you will know the Shepherd’s voice.

[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 151) Thomas Nelson

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