Hearing His Voice by Randy Rowley 3/4/11 ©


I’ve always admired well-trained bird dogs, especially upland bird dogs.  Their noses, concentration, and desire to succeed are amazing.  Many times I’ve witnessed labs whining because there are no ducks or dove in the air.  They’re more disappointed than the hunters are!

But I’ve also noticed a negative trait common to bird dogs – they don’t listen well!  If anyone other than their master gives them a command, they completely ignore it and look at the one who issued it with a “Are you stupid or what?” question on their faces.

At first glance, you might think such dogs are just stubborn.  But that’s not the case at all.  A good bird dog knows his master’s voice and responds only to it.  I can give somebody else’s dog commands, such as to drop my dove that it fetched, until I’m blue in the face, but it usually won’t respond to me.

Often when I’m dove hunting, people are undoubtedly entertained when they see me suddenly break into a run.  No, I’m not trying to work off too many calories from lunch.  Instead, I’ve shot a dove, and I’m hurrying to get to it before one of my friend’s dogs does.  I don’t know how they do it, but they seem always to know exactly when to kick in the afterburners and snatch the dove right from underneath my outstretched hand.

My commands to “stop,” “come,” and “drop” are completely ignored as the dog happily trots with my dove over to his master.  Suddenly, when the dog’s master speaks, the dog, which I thought was stubborn or deaf, listens and obeys his master because he knows his voice.

On the last day of a mid-January FCS duck hunt near Port Aransas, three ducks came into the decoy spread from the left, and I shot the bird on the far right.  We also killed the other two birds.  There was a flurry of movement.  The hunters who downed the ducks and the dogs all went to get them.  As I waded towards my duck, I saw a brown flash.  It was Hershey, a lab owned by my brother-in-law Roy Brigman, and he was heading straight for my duck!  Knowing that I couldn’t beat Hershey to a bird on dry land, much less while wading in a body of water, I didn’t even try.

Hershey retrieved the duck and then turned and headed back towards land.  But then the most amazing thing happened.  Instead of heading to Roy as he always had before, he headed straight towards me and came to a stop an arm’s length away, directly in front of me.  I issued the command, “Drop.”  And he did it!  I guess that he had heard my voice often enough that he finally listened to it.

Bible students know that Jesus often talked about animals when he was making a point.  In John Chapter 10, he used sheep to drive his point home.  He responded to a question about who he was.  John 10:22-28 says, “Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem.  It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.  The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.’”

God spoke and still speaks to his creation in a variety of ways, including:

  • Through his creation – Psalm 104:24-25 (NLT) says, “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all.  The earth is full of your creatures.  Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.”
  • Through his word. Joshua 1:8 (NLT) says, “‘Study this Book of the Law continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it.  Only then will you succeed.’”
  • Through the words of other Christians (such as preachers and teachers) – Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
  • Through prayer. Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV) says, “‘Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.’”

Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  By being still, we can hear what he has to say.  We can’t hear him when we’re doing all the talking.  Just as Hershey didn’t hear and obey me until he stopped, we can’t hear God and know what he wants us to do until we stop talking and get still.


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