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, such as a lab that whines because there are no ducks or dove in the air – it’s more disappointed than its master is!

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

At first, I thought such dogs were stubborn, but that’s not the case.  I learned that 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 one of my dove it fetched until I’m blue in the face, but it usually won’t comply.

Often when I’m dove hunting, people are undoubtedly entertained when seeing me suddenly break into a run.  No, I’m not trying to work off too many calories from lunch.  Rather, 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 know exactly when to kick in the afterburners and snatch the dove underneath my hand.

My commands to “Stop,” “Come,” and “Drop” are completely ignored as the dog happily trots with my dove over to his master – the one the dog knows.  Suddenly, when the dog’s master speaks, the dog I thought was either stubborn or deaf listens.  He knows his master’s voice and obeys him.

On the last day of a mid-January FCS duck hunt in the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, three redheads came into the decoy spread from the left, and I shot the drake on the far right.  The other two redheads were also killed.  Then there was a flurry of movement – three hunters and three dogs went to get the ducks.

As I waded towards my duck, suddenly, I saw a brown flash.  The flash was Hershey, my brother-in-law Roy Brigman’s lab, swimming straight for my duck!  I didn’t even try to beat him to it, as I knew I couldn’t come close to beating him to a bird on dry land, much less while wading in the marsh.

Hershey retrieved my duck and then turned and headed back towards land.  But then the most amazing thing happened – instead of going to Roy as he always had, he headed straight to me and stopped directly in front of me, an arm’s length away.  I issued the command, “Drop,” and he did it!  I guess he’d heard my voice enough to listen to it finally.

Jesus sometimes used the traits of animals to make points.  In John Chapter 10, he used a characteristic of sheep to follow their master’s voice in his response to a question, probably from the Pharisees, 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 speaks to his creation in a variety of ways, including:

  • In 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 prayer.  God said in Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV), “‘Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.’”
  • Through the words of other Christians (such as pastors, teachers, mentors, and mature friends) – 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,” Proverbs 11:14 (NASB) says, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in an abundance of counselors there is victory,” and Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
  • In the beauty of his creation – Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”  Some of my best worship experiences and talks with God have been while hunting from a deer blind.

We can’t hear God speak to us when we’re doing all the talking.  Psalm 46:10a says, “‘Be still, and know that I am God.’”  We can hear what God has to say by being still and listening.  Just as Hershey didn’t hear and obey me until he stopped swimming, we can’t hear God and know what he wants us to do until we stop talking and get still.  Only after we hear God’s still, small voice will we be able to obey him.


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I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.